U20 national team coach Emílio Peixe has named the Portugal squad that will travel to South Korea for the World Cup starting later this month.
“Our history in this competition is a factor of motivation but also adds to our responsibility,” said Peixe, who was a key player when Portugal won this trophy in 1991, when he was voted MVP in the tournament held on home soil.
The squad is made up mostly of Benfica, Sporting and Porto youth players – 18 of the 21-man squad come from Portugal’s Big Three – and hopes are high of a good showing given many of the players are the same who won the U17 European Championship in Azerbaijan and reached the semi-finals of the U19 European Championship in Germany, both last year.
Even before the tournament proper starts, Portugal made history by qualifying for a fourth successive U20 World Cup, becoming the first European country to do so. The fact a powerhouse football nation like Brazil and the current holders of the trophy Serbia failed to make the cut demonstrates how competitive football is at this level.
This will be the twenty-first FIFA organised U20 World Cup, with Portugal participating in the tournament on 11 occasions. The Seleção won the trophy twice, curiously successively, in 1989 in Saudi Arabia, and in 1991 as the host nation. Portugal also made it to the final on one other occasion, in 2011 in Colombia.
“Our first big goal is to qualify for the knockout stage. Our second goal is to win the group, said Peixe. “Both the federation and the players really want to win. Winning is what drives us forward, but we can’t lose sight of the fact one of the main focuses of the national youth sides is to prepare players for the senior Portugal team. But until getting there, we really want to win.”
First stop Japan
The World Cup will be held from 20 May to 11 June. Before travelling to their base in South Korea, the Seleção will hold a one-week training camp in Japan, which ends with a friendly match against USA. In the opening phase Portugal play Zambia, Costa Rica and Iran in Group C.
The FPF have compiled a detailed bilingual 42-page Media Guide about Portugal’s participation in the U20 World Cup. To download it click on the link above.
Portugal’s U20 World Cup squad
Goalkeepers: Pedro Silva (Sporting), Diogo Costa (FC Porto), Luís Maximiano (Sporting)
Defenders: Pedro Empis (Sporting), Diogo Dalot (FC Porto), Yuri Ribeiro (Benfica), Rúben Dias (Benfica), Jorge Fernandes (FC Porto), Ferro (Benfica)
Midfielders: Pedro Rodrigues (Benfica), Florentino (Benfica), Gedson Fernandes (Benfica), Miguel Luís (Sporting), Pedro Delgado (Sporting), Xadas (Braga), Diogo Gonçalves (Benfica), Buta (Benfica), Bruno Costa (FC Porto)
Forwards: Alexandre Silva (Vitória de Guimarães), José Gomes (Benfica), André Ribeiro (Zurich)
by Tom Kundert