Portugal coach Fernando Santos has named a 24-man squad for Portugal's Euro 2016 home qualifier against Serbia on 29 March. 

Belenenses goalkeeper Hugo Ventura gets his first call-up to the Seleção, Hugo Almeida, Antunes and Eliseu are all recalled while Adrien Silva, Raphael Guerreiro, Tiago Gomes, Beto and Hélder Postiga are the players who make way for the newcomers in relation to the previous Seleção squad in November.

Portugal play Cape Verde in a friendly two days after the Serbia match, but Santos explained that the same players will not be used. "On Monday I will announce another squad list with 10 or 11 new players for the Cape Verde game."

As for the clash against Serbia, Santos was at pains to emphasize the importance of the fixture. "Everyone should realise the importance of this game. For a team that has just one point [Serbia] this is an absolutely crucial match. We expect Serbia to come here and try to win the match. I know the problems they can cause us and also their weaknesses, which I shall share with the players." 

Qualification on track 

Despite not missing a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, Portugal have often struggled in the qualification phase. After a shock defeat at home to Albania, a result that cost Paulo Bento his job as the Seleção coach, it appeared it would be a familiar story.

But the appointment of Santos brought about an immediate recovery, with narrow wins against Denmark (away) and Armenia (home) lifting Portugal to second in Group I, one point behind leaders Denmark with a game in hand. When both Serbia and Albania were docked points after the infamous drone incident triggered chaotic scenes and the abandonment of their match in Belgrade, Portugal's position was further strengthened.

With the top two nations qualifying directly, a win for Portugal in Lisbon on Sunday week will leave the team well placed to qualify without the need for a play-off, which is allocated to the third-placed team. The Seleção have required a play-off to qualify for the last three tournaments. 

Portugal are likely to be without coach Santos in the Estádio da Luz dugout. The Court of Arbitration for Sport will announce the result of his appeal against an eight-match ban on Monday. The ban, imposed after abusing the referee as the Greece manager in the game against Costa Rica at the 2014 World Cup, is expected to be upheld but reduced. 

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício (Sporting), Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Ventura (Belenenses) 

Defenders: Bosingwa (Trabzonspor), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Cédric (Sporting), José Fonte (Southampton), Pepe (Real Madrid), Antunes (Dinamo Kiev), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco), Eliseu (Benfica)  

Midfielders: João Mário (Sporting), William Carvalho (Sporting), André Gomes (Valencia), João Moutinho (Monaco), Tiago (Atletico Madrid)

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit), Éder (Braga), Nani (Sporting), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Hugo Almeida (Kuban Krasnodar)

by Tom Kundert

 

Comments (21)

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Anthony Lopes

Cedric Pepe José Fonte Fabio Coentrao


André Gomes Tiago Joao Moutinho João Mário

Nani Cristiano Ronaldo

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"Felipe" has just esentially filled the midfield with the exact same player four times.

It will probably be the following:

Lopes

Cedric - Fonte - Pepe - Coentrao

A.Gomes - Tiago - Moutinho

Nani - Danny - CR7.


Also where is Raphael...

"Felipe" has just esentially filled the midfield with the exact same player four times.

It will probably be the following:

Lopes

Cedric - Fonte - Pepe - Coentrao

A.Gomes - Tiago - Moutinho

Nani - Danny - CR7.


Also where is Raphael Guerrero? And what exactly is the criteria for getting into this team as a striker? Almedia has scored ONE goal and has been at two clubs since the world cup...at Cesena he didnt even score too.

Surely the likes of Pizzi or Cavaleiro or Bebe deserve a chance? Or are they all being used for u-21 european championships?

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Rafael Guerreiro is injured for those asking. Tom tweeted it.

I think lineup is probably the same as Miggy posted except William C starts over Gomes. Either guy would make me happy. Let the nail biting begin!

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This match has me concerned. Frankly I'm surprised that Serbia has struggled as much as they have. More than a few talent players playing in squads in good leagues.

I know that Portugal and almost all top teams are going with a 4-3-3 formation,...

This match has me concerned. Frankly I'm surprised that Serbia has struggled as much as they have. More than a few talent players playing in squads in good leagues.

I know that Portugal and almost all top teams are going with a 4-3-3 formation, but it mostly plays like a 4-5-1. When we go up against a good possession team, we just don't have the numbers to flood midfield. Plenty of forwards, but where is our playmaker(s)?
On a side note, I'm happy to see Fonte on the squad and I hope he gets a run out.
Why Almeida and Eder? We could have used those two spots for newbies at midfield.

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While I was hoping to see a few youngster get a call-up, it does make sense to go for an experienced group of players in such an important qualifier. However, his decision to include two painfully mediocre center-forwards (Eder and Almeida) over...

While I was hoping to see a few youngster get a call-up, it does make sense to go for an experienced group of players in such an important qualifier. However, his decision to include two painfully mediocre center-forwards (Eder and Almeida) over a younger, more dynamic winger/second-striker like Mane, Rafa, Cavaleiro, Bruma, is difficult to understand. Santos will likely give our younger stars a go against Cape Verde. Hopefully, Bernardo Silva, a personal favorite of mine, will be one of them!

If I were in Santos' position, I would use this 11:

-------------------Ronaldo-------------------------
Nani----------------------------------Quaresma
------J.Mario---------------Moutinho-----------
-------------------William----------------------------------
Coentrao---Pepe----Fonte-----------Vieirinha
--------------------Lopes--------------------------

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Nani_______Ronaldo_______Quaresma
Joao Moutinho
Andrea Gomes_______Tiago
William
Coentrao________ Pepe_______Jose Fonte_______Eliseu
...

Nani_______Ronaldo_______Quaresma
Joao Moutinho
Andrea Gomes_______Tiago
William
Coentrao________ Pepe_______Jose Fonte_______Eliseu
Anthony Lopes

-Eder shouldn't even get a call up the guy is lazy and everytime he has a golden chance to score doesn't take advantage to put the ball in the back of the net. Personally if one of my forwards don't get in the starting line up I would like to see Vieirinha he has been playing very well for Wolfsburg and showed it yesterday against Inter.
-Midfield: Im glad to see some new young faces then the typical older line we've had in the past few tournaments.
-Defense: The one thing im pretty disappointed about, why are we calling up old players that haven't gotten a call up in years or announced that they retired? Bruno Alves I love the guy he has done so much for the team that im thankful for but I don't see why he would retire then the next day come back to the team. Bosingwa and Carvalho are exactly what Im taking about getting called up after such a long time not seeing and international game, granted I know about Ricardos mishap with Bento but still both to old and should let some new young guys in the squad.
-Goalie: Finally Bento isn't in the squad, besides his lucky run last year and this year in Europa I think the guy is a joke. Watching him finally get a taste of competitive futebol last summer against Ghana is exactly what I wanted to happen to him being embarrassed. Personally im getting sick of watch Patricio, hes been the number one for a long time in the posts but Lops I think is such a better goal keeper in a better league that has a tighter title race then Rui does in the league. Give the kid a shot and see what happens, this is a game that we can experience playing with our young talent and should definitely take advantage of that against Cape Verde.

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:(@ Negatorio - his name is Beto, not Bento. One was a coach the other a goalie. Also, you don't get "lucky" in winning Europa TWICE (2012 and 2014, two league titles (Porto and Cluj) and various league cups.

He is Sevilla 1st choice keep for a...

:(@ Negatorio - his name is Beto, not Bento. One was a coach the other a goalie. Also, you don't get "lucky" in winning Europa TWICE (2012 and 2014, two league titles (Porto and Cluj) and various league cups.

He is Sevilla 1st choice keep for a reason. Yes because he doesn't face ANY top end competition in Spain right?

Angry Benfa's are just that, angry. You want to win Europa = PLAY BETTER!

Get this man his shu-sha!

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Not the best squad, but food enough call ups to field a strong xi: ronaldo-almeida(danny)-quaresma (nani); moutinho-gomes(mario or tiago)-william; coentrao-pepe-fonte-cedric; lopes
Subs are in parentheses.
I don't think it's a good idea to play...

Not the best squad, but food enough call ups to field a strong xi: ronaldo-almeida(danny)-quaresma (nani); moutinho-gomes(mario or tiago)-william; coentrao-pepe-fonte-cedric; lopes
Subs are in parentheses.
I don't think it's a good idea to play Ronaldo at striker. He's best at LW, so play to your best player's strengths. Interesting that there's a different squad for the friendly with almost half a different squad. This at least shows Santos' willingness to experiment. We've had good results under him thus far so I hope that continues. For the future: no more bruno alves. Good young CBs need the experience more than him. Bernardo Silva should be given a spot sooner than later. Call up any youth striker. Any of them. It doesn't matter. Eder and Almeida have to go. Paciencia, andre silva, I don't even care. Call up Sa or Matias if you have to, but please enough of Eder, Almeida, Postiga etc.

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Random thoughts:
- Seeing Almeida on the team sheet makes me cringe.
- Lopes should definitely start given the season he's having.
- Wouldn't be disappointed if Antunes got the nod ahead of Coentrao. He doesn't seem to have slowed since the move...

Random thoughts:
- Seeing Almeida on the team sheet makes me cringe.
- Lopes should definitely start given the season he's having.
- Wouldn't be disappointed if Antunes got the nod ahead of Coentrao. He doesn't seem to have slowed since the move to Kiev if the Everton game is anything to go by. And that strike!
- Really not sure what to do up front. Hate to see Almeida and Eder on, but at the same time, they offer more physicality, which this team may need against a team like Serbia. That being said, I'd prefer to see the team start with either Ronaldo or Danny at CF. Ronaldo is better as a winger, but he offers much more as a CF than anyone else on this team and Nani and Danny are both more than capable replacements at LW. Starting Danny at CF could work too, but against a team like Serbia, it may be better to use Ronaldo's physicality and speed in that CF role.
- In midfield, I think we have to go with Tiago over William to start. He offers a bit more speed and better decision-making than William who I find to be a bit too conservative sometimes. That being said, Serbia have a strong midfield so I think you have to bring in William early if Portugal start to get bossed in that area.
- Serbia look really damn good on paper, especially defensively and in midfield. They have arguably the best RB in the game currently with Ivanovic. They also have Kolarov and very good CBs in Nastasic and guys like Basta, Tomovic and Maksimovic. Their midfielders and wingers are even better. Tadic has been great for Southampton this season and then they have guys like Ljajic, Markovic and, of course, the one likely to give us the most trouble, Matic. Their striker Mitrovic looks pretty decent too: 20 goals in 37 games this season and this other guy Skuletic has also had a great 2014/15. This is going to be a very very difficult game.

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Not the best squad, but one good enough to put together a decent team
-Nani – CR7 – Vieirinha-
--- Joao Mario ---Tiago---
----------William------------
Coentrao—Pepe—Fonte—Cedric
Anthony Lopes
My $0.02:
I had hoped to never see either Hugo...

Not the best squad, but one good enough to put together a decent team
-Nani – CR7 – Vieirinha-
--- Joao Mario ---Tiago---
----------William------------
Coentrao—Pepe—Fonte—Cedric
Anthony Lopes
My $0.02:
I had hoped to never see either Hugo Almeida or Eder on a Seleccao squad again. Does Hugo Almeida have compromising photos of Fernando Gomes? How does he always come back like a bad smell? And as for Eder, he hasn’t managed to score in 16 games. When is enough enough? If for some reason we are befallen by injury, and forced to play either Almeida or Eder up front, let’s just play with 10 men, because there’s a greater chance of the ball travelling through thin air, hitting the post and going in, than there is of either sacanas scoring.
Ordinarily I would play CR7 on the left, but he’ll be going up against Branislav Ivanovic and that’s a nightmare match-up for Portugal. CR7 treats tracking back like the bubonic plague, and so we’ll have Branislav Ivanovic marauding down that touchline and sending in one marvellous cross after another (and any Seleccao fan knows how we deal with corners and crosses!) Nani at least tracks back some of the time.
So now CR7can either play on the RW or up-front, but given the quality we have on the wing and the dearth of quality up front (btw, what about Bruno Moreira from Pacos – he seems like a better bet than Eder at the very least), it makes sense to put CR7 up front. From what I remember CR7 plays well up front – he just gets petulant when he doesn’t get service!
On the right, Vieirinha is a better fit to start than Quaresma. I feel RQ is more suited to being a supersub, and that RQ’s skillset works better against tired legs.
I think it is better to play 2 attacking mids against Serbia, to prevent CR7 throwing his toys out of the cot if he doesn’t get good service and also because it is harder for Matic to shut down two attacking mids than one. Moutinho was a big disappointment for me at the world cup, so Joao Mario and Tiago get to start with William playing DM. Alternatively, if we need more goals, Tiago could drop back and play the Xabi Alonso role, with Moutinho coming on as an attacking mid.
Coentrao at LB is just common sense. Don’t care for Real Madrid or how Coentrao is playing at Madrid – this guy always shows up for the Seleccao, no matter what. But Antunes always needs to be in the squad for cover. Bruno Alves, I appreciate all the last-minute headed goals, but this guy really needs to be put out to pasture. I was expecting Carvalho to be terrible on his return to the team, but he exceeded expectations. Still though, we need some new blood at CB (Fonte is 31, Pepe is 32).
Patricio has disappointed, so time to give Lopes the start and the chance to prove himself.

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