Seleção coach Fernando Santos usually has a surprise of two when it comes to announcing the Portugal squad, and today was no different. Braga’s Brazilian born striker Dyego Sousa was given a debut call-up for the start of the Euro 2020 qualification campaign.

Benfica’s teenage star João Félix is another debutant, while Wolves forward Diogo Jota gets the nod and there are recalls for José Fonte and João Moutinho. 

With regard to Sousa’s call-up, Fernando Santos said: “I always said that any player who was eligible has the chance to represent Portugal. The time has come when I believe this player should be selected and that’s why he’s here. He fills all the natural requisites.”

Captain Cristiano Ronaldo is back for the first time since the World Cup. Santos was asked if the Juventus forward had managed to surprise him with his magnificent hat-trick against Atlético Madrid.

“His performance didn’t surprise me,” replied the coach. “It was the same as when he scored three goals against Spain at the World Cup and he’s scored three in a match so many times. The only time he surprised me was when I first got to know him as Sporting coach, when he was 18 years old.”

Portugal host Ukraine on Friday 22 March at the Estádio da Luz, before playing Serbia at the same venue three days later as they begin the defence of their European Championship crown.

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Beto (Goztepe), José Sá (Olympiakos), Rui Patrício (Wolves)

Defenders: João Cancelo (Juventus), Nélson Semedo (Barcelona), José Fonte (Lille), Pepe (FC Porto), Rúben Dias (Benfica), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Mário Rui (Napoli)

Midfielders: Danilo Pereira (FC Porto),  Rúben Neves (Wolves), William Carvalho (Bétis), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting), João Mário (Inter), João Moutinho (Wolves), Pizzi (Benfica), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

Forwards: João Félix (Benfica), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia) Rafa Silva (Benfica), André Silva (Sevilla), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Diogo Jota (Wolves), Dyego Sousa (Braga)

By Tom Kundert

 

Comments (7)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I am so excited! I still have high hopes for Sanches, that pivotal turn and cross during the Liverpool game, would have been a great goal.

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I'm intrigued by this team selection from Fernando Santos. He seems to be placing an emphasis on the CF position with the inclusions of Joao Felix, Diogo Jota, and Dyego Sousa (who came outta nowhere for me). Add them to the what I presume will...

I'm intrigued by this team selection from Fernando Santos. He seems to be placing an emphasis on the CF position with the inclusions of Joao Felix, Diogo Jota, and Dyego Sousa (who came outta nowhere for me). Add them to the what I presume will be reunited partnership of Cristiano Ronaldo and Andre Silva up top, and we may finally have the kind of depth in that position that we've been lacking for so many years. It'll also force Silva to step it up. Any regression from him for the national team and he could easily find himself on the outside looking in, especially with Rafael Leao knocking on the door in his own right.

Also, the fact that Santos only chose three CBs when we'll be playing our two hardest opponents in the group three days apart forces me to raise an eyebrow. Could it be that he finally gives Danilo some time at that position, just to see what he'd look like, like I and many others have asked for for months? I mean, based on personnel you'd be hard pressed not to look at him as the emergency CB option at least. For the past few months we've been arguing amongst ourselves whether or not Santos even sees him as an emergency option in that position, and, if he does, how much faith he actually has in him to do the job. Well, I think we have our answer now.

And lastly, Tom, I don't know if this is a mistake on your part or not, but, you have Bernardo Silva listed as a midfielder. Is this true? Did Santos recognize him as a midfielder, or give a hint that he would play him in the middle moving forward? If so, that might be the biggest news of all. Bernardo playing as a true midfielder, as opposed to a forward or winger, is the key to unlocking Portugal's true potential in my opinion. We all remember what he looked like in the latter stages of the game against Uruguay right?

All-in-all, exciting times ahead for Portugal. I also echo Jerrold's sentiments regarding Renato Sanches. I encourage everyone to seek out and read the piece Sanches put in the Players' Tribune. It provided an interesting insight into his motivations and newfound maturity. I think the kid will be fine, especially considering Bayern need to turn to youth moving forward. This should provide him with the opportunities he deserves.

Vamos!


- Essayist George

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Hi George. Great post as usual. You are right - Bernardo Silva was listed as a forward. I put him as a midfielder because I did not copy-paste the official FPF list. Like you, wishful thinking on my part I guess!

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Overall not many surprises couple no brainer additions with Félix and Jota. Would like to see Santos call up even more of are younger players, I think Mountinho and Fonte are taking up valuable spots. Are focus should be on preparing a team for...

Overall not many surprises couple no brainer additions with Félix and Jota. Would like to see Santos call up even more of are younger players, I think Mountinho and Fonte are taking up valuable spots. Are focus should be on preparing a team for the World Cup, focus on putting together the best guys that should be in there prime in 5 years. We won a euro already. Should have called up Ferro and started to pair him with Dias so they can form a solid chemistry as they’ve started to do in Benfica. With the Euro having expanded qualification we should have no problem qualifying. Unleash the youth !

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My ideal line-up would be

Cancelo....Dias...Ferro.....Rui

Carvalho....Neves

Bernardo Silva......Félix......Rafa

Ronaldo

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Benfica centre-back Francisco Reis Ferreira is a good defender who should have been called by Selacao. At 21 he has the maturity operating at the heart of the backline. He looks to be an excellent tackler and has the ability to make well-timed...

Benfica centre-back Francisco Reis Ferreira is a good defender who should have been called by Selacao. At 21 he has the maturity operating at the heart of the backline. He looks to be an excellent tackler and has the ability to make well-timed interceptions in his own half.
He has scored vital goals for his club and makes him a good choice for future games.
Andre Silva ???
The team looks good and wish them all success.

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Patricio. Moutinho. Bernardo. Ronaldo. Everyone else.

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