Portugal coach Fernando Santos today named a largely experimental squad for the friendly matches against Saudi Arabia and USA.

As the European champions begin their preparations for the 2018 World Cup, four players are called up to the senior squad for the first time: defenders Kevin Rodrigues, Ricardo Ferreira and Edgar Ié and attacking midfielder Rony Lopes.

Porto goalkeeper José Sá and veteran midfielder Manuel Fernandes are two more names who stand out, while several certainties for the World Cup such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Rui Patrício are rested.

Despite the wholesale changes - there are 10 different players compared to the squad for Portugal's final World Cup qualifiers - Santos said that all the players selected had a chance of going to Russia.

Indeed, the coach was at pains to emphasise that "this group is never closed", stating that he would continue to consider all possibilities, citing Benfica centre-back Rúben Dias and Sporting forward Daniel Podence, who did not make the cut on this occasion.

Portugal play Saudi Arabia on 10 November in Viseu and USA on 14 November in Leiria.


Portugal squad:

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), José Sá (FC Porto)

Defenders: Antunes (Getafe), Edgar Ié (Lille), Kevin Rodrigues (Real Sociedad), João Cancelo (Inter), Luís Neto (Fenerbahçe), Nélson Semedo (Barcelona), Pepe (Besiktas), Ricardo Ferreira (SC Braga), Ricardo Pereira (FC Porto)

Midfielders: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting), Danilo Pereira (FC Porto), João Mário (Inter), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv), Rúben Neves (Wolves)

Forwards: André Silva (Milan), Bruma (RB Leipzig), Eder (Lokomotiv), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), Rony Lopes (Monaco)


Related: Ten fringe players who could make Portugal's 2018 World Cup squad


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  • Guest - Brandon Mendes

    I'm very excited to see how andre silva and goncalo guedes pair up. Ruben Neves definitely deserves this call up after his great start to the season at Wolves. very surprised to see some names here including manuel fernandes and kevin rodrigues. Santos really loves to surprise us. Forca Selecao.

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  • Guest - joe


    Very happy to see alot of the new names and a few suprises too....this list isnt too far off what I would love to see going to russia...add ronaldo, guerriero, patricio, quaresma, cedric, sanches and carvalho for some of the questionable or players that could wait for next cycle and u have ur team.

    Be interesting to see if m.fernandes gets any game time...but I am sure the 3 defenders that are here will..i know Ie, ferreira and perreira will see action alongside pepe and semedo during some point...I also think Cancelo will go to Russia because of his versatility on the right flank. K. Rodrigues is playing well at real sociedad amd they are doing very well in la liga....a great deputy to guerriero(who scored in champions league on wed) and young too...

    Its nice to see neves rewarded but do u leave moutinho or b.fernandes for example off the plane for him...i would, but I dont think santos will.

    As for the starting line-up..i would like to see guedes as the left winger like at valencia and have bruno fernandes as no 10 alongside a.silva with b.silva on the right wing with danilo and j.mario in the middle. Semedo pepe ie and r.perreira as our defensive line. Sub guedes for bruma, cancelo for b.silva, m.fernandes for b.fernandes, r.ferriera for Ie, j.mario for neves and k.rodrigues for r.perreira.

    Thats the team for USA game and for the saudis just flip it reverse and try the few guys who didnt play.

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  • Guest - SupremoGino

    This squad is largely a combination of the impressive Portugal u21s & u19s teams from a couple years ago. This should help give a boost to team chemistry. Not long before, most of our experimental friendlies resulted in disjointed formations and uninspiring results which didn't help the technical staff to identify which player is ready to join the A team. I think this time will be a lot different.. at least i'm hoping and the standouts will be clearer.

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  • Guest - George

    WOW! Well... that was something, lol. Here I was hoping for two or three new faces and we practically get an entire team full of them! Absolutely fantastic! At this point I'd like to see Fernando Santos be given a lifetime contract. This is exactly the direction I would've gone if I were the manager for these games.

    Manuel Fernandes, in particular, is a name that came outta nowhere for me. I haven't even thought about him in a year or two; pleased to see him get a Quaresma callup after having been forgotten for so long. He's another one of those guys who can score from long-range. Very important.

    I've been seeing some comments regarding Ronny Lopes on social media and I have to say I'm pretty confused. Didn't he already unequivocally say that he intended to play for Portugal over Brazil? I mean, I know he can still change his mind until he's capped in a meaningful game, but, why's everyone still worried about this? Brazil qualified for the World Cup months ago and could've easily called him up and capped him in, say, that game against Bolivia that meant absolutely nothing but was still, technically, "competitive", but they didn't do that. So.. I'm assuming either they don't have much of an interest in him, he doesn't have much of an interest in them, or both. I'm not worried about Ronny. He's a Portugal player and I think he stays a Portugal player. The way he handled being left out of the U21 squad (maybe this is where all the doubt stems from..?) was great and I think it spoke volumes about where his heart is. I could be wrong, but, I just don't see it.

    Ricardo Ferreira and Kevin Rodrigues are in similar situations so glad to see them included. Being included in friendlies, if nothing else, gives these players a message that they are, in fact, being watched, and do, in fact, have a chance at making the team. It's a good message to send not only to the players who've been called up, but others on the fringes as well. It must've been deflating for Portuguese players under the Bento era knowing that, no matter how well they played, chances were that they were never being called up. Fostering a culture of opportunity does nothing but make our squad stronger in the long run. Thank you Fernando Santos for realizing this. At this point, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that you are the best coach Portugal's ever had.

    I've never been so excited to watch a pair of friendlies in my life. Can't wait to see Edgar Ie and Ricardo Pereira in action. Hopefully they both play well and stand out.

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  • But George what about the usual trolls that come on here and bash Santos? Call him Bento 2.0? What will they do with themselves? I can see them now in their parents basement playing CoD online and threatening 13 year olds via voice chat.

    Great day for most fans, sad day for the trolls. Perhaps we should say a prayer for them;

    Ave Maria cheia de graça,
    o Senhor é convosco...


    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • Guest - Nelly - Mississauga

    I don’t know where some fans got the perception that Santos is stubborn in his selections because throughout his tenure as coach he’s been anything but. Yes he stuck to a core group for qualification but when you have less than a week to prepare for critical games where you absolutely can’t afford to drop a single point then you want players that know each other tactically. But he knows the obvious deficiencies that we see and now that he has the luxury of meaningless games he’s working to address those issues.

    Anyone seen Ricardo Ferreira play recently? I remember being impressed with him in the u20 World Cup a few years back when he was paired with Thiago Ilori (who at the time was getting all this hype but looked lost to me personally)

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  • Guest - Justin/rochester

    With the exception of Pepe, what we're looking at here is the future of the national team. Probably from 2020 and on. With the exception of a few players this is our future. I'm personally excited about this team going forwards, obviously I have my gripes and doubts but all in all we have a team that always be competitive in any tournament. I only use the word competitive because let's face it, in this sport anything can happen in these global tournaments. Also, we can't forget that there's a few great teams with youth. England is a team that gets forgotten sometimes but they're stacked and we all know about France, Germany and Spain. On the World Cup level their will always be young Brazilians and Argentinians that come through the ranks as well. I guess I have no point to be made with my comment, just that I'm optimistic about us going forward. If I had to add anything meaningful to this post it's that I want Edgar Le to partner Pepe. I think his speed is crucial in today's game and with Pepes positional sense and football brain, perhaps that can help Edgar. Last but not least, what can you say about Guedes that hasn't been said at this point? I even read an ESPN article where the writer said he's a future Balon Dor winner if he keeps up this form. ESPN is notorious for discrediting Portugal(see 2016 euro articles). Anyways, in the future I want to see him play left wing and Bernardo play on the right. The number 10 is up for grabs and I guess it depends on the opposition for that game. Oh yeah, I haven't been rating the articles and that's only because I'll give them a 5 every time. Anywhere I can get real good coverage on Portugal well that's a 5 star every time no matter what lol.

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  • Guest - Ivo

    This is more like it. While I would have preferrrs to see some of these players given a chance much sooner than now I understand that qualification was a priority. Santos still does deserve some criticism for not attempting to integrate younger players into the CB position at an earlier point in time, but that’s always been a fairly minor gripe in the grand scheme of things since Santos’ results speak for themselves.

    Really glad to see Neves given a chance and it would have been great to see Jota as well, as he’s also been excellent for Wolves. The announcement of this squad and the return of Guerreiro with a wonderful goal for Dortmund are great prices of news for the national team. Guedes in particular really deserves he call up. He is playing with energy and hunger for Valencia and his shooting snd attacking quality has been excellent. It’s great to see him have such a positive impact on Valencia’s fortunes as they are currently surprising many by being second in the league with Guedes a firmly established starter now. Given how many key Portuguese players like Bernardo and Joao Mario are no longer starting regularly for their clubs that is a welcome development.

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