It’s been a busy day at the Portuguese Football Federation’s state-of-the-art Football City complex, with Fernando Santos and Rui Jorge naming their Seleção squads for the Confederations Cup and the U21 European Championship respectively.
As regards the senior squad, the main news was the omission of two of Portugal’s Euro 2016 heroes, Renato Sanches and Eder. The former drops into the U21 squad after his difficult first season at Bayern Munich, while Eder misses out after a substandard year for his club side, Lille.
Meanwhile Rui Jorge announced what on paper at least looks like a stellar squad for the U21 tournament in Poland.
The reigning European Champions, as well as the tournament in Russia, play a friendly against Cyprus and a World Cup qualifier against Latvia beforehand. Santos chose his strongest possible options rather than following Germany’s lead, who selected a largely experimental squad.
Some had suggested captain Cristiano Ronaldo should be rested, but Santos flatly rejected the idea. “Ronaldo is selected and he will play,” said the Portugal coach, who also explained that goalkeeper Anthony Lopes was not in the squad because he asked to be left out owing to a serious family issue.
As for the U21 squad, Portugal must be confident of at least matching their runners-up spot in the last edition of this tournament held in 2015 in the Czech Republic, which they lost in the final on penalties. This U21 Seleção is packed with high-calibre players with significant experience for Portugal’s senior squad, such as Renato Sanches and João Cancelo, and footballers with big reputations a club level, such as Rúben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Gonçalo Guedes and Bruma, among others.
Nevertheless, Jorge refused to accept Portugal were favourites for the tournament, pointing out the fact that highly rated FC Porto midfielder Óliver Torres could not even make a “quality” Spanish squad.
Portugal squad for Cyprus friendly, Latvia WCQ and Confederations Cup
Goalkeepers: Beto (Sporting), José Sá (FC Porto), Rui Patrício (Sporting)
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Cagliari), Cédric (Southampton), Eliseu (Benfica), José Fonte (West Ham), Luís Neto (Zenit), Nélson Semedo (Benfica), Pepe (Real Madrid), Raphael Guerreiro (Dortmund)
Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Sporting), André Gomes (Barcelona), Danilo Pereira (FC Porto), João Mário (Inter Milan), João Moutinho (Monaco), Pizzi (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting)
Forwards: André Silva (FC Porto), Bernardo Silva (Monaco), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Nani (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)
Portugal’s squad for the U21 European Championship
by Tom Kundert