The fine form shown by Wolves forward Pedro Neto and Braga striker Paulinho have earned both players debut call-ups to the full Portugal squad for the decisive Nations League encounters against France and Croatia, and the friendly match against Andorra.

An illustration of just how strong the options available to coach Fernando Santos are right now is shown by the fact Eintracht Frankfurt striker André Silva misses out, despite his strong goal-scoring form in Germany and excellent record for the Seleção. 

Braga striker Paulinho hit 25 goals last season and was heavily rumoured to be on the cusp of a move to Sporting in the summer, but he ended up remaining in the north. As well as his acumen in front of goal, the 27-year-old is known for his intelligent link-up play.

Pedro Neto has earned rave reviews for his performances for Wolves, quickly becoming one of the most potent attacking weapons for Nuno Espírito Santo’s team in the English Premier League, especially since the departure of Diogo Jota.

And on Jota, Santos was asked whether the magnificent form of the free-scoring forward at Liverpool had surprised him. “Jota has surprised me ever since I first noticed him at Paços de Ferreira. He has qualities that are extremely valuable for this Portugal team,” was the coach’s reply.

Portugal host France on 14 November at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon, before finishing the group stage of the competition away at Croatia three days later. The Seleção, current holders of the Nations League trophy, are joint top of Group A3 as it stands.

“We cannot consider ourselves favourites against France [after the 0-0 draw in Paris] because when two teams of this stature come up against each other there are no favourites,” said Santos, adding that “a score-draw will be harmful for our chances of qualifying.”

Before the Nations League matches, the Seleção will host Andorra on 11 November, also in the Portuguese capital, although Santos was blunt in his reply when asked about the utility of the match. “We are playing this match because it was imposed on us - if it hadn’t been we would not have chosen to play anybody on this date.”

Full Portugal squad

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Rui Patrício (Wolves), Rui Silva (Granada)

Defenders: João Cancelo (Manchester City), Nélson Semedo (Wolves), Domingos Duarte (Granada), José Fonte (Lille), Rúben Semedo (Olympiacos), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), Mário Rui (Napoli), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders: William Carvalho (Betis), Danilo Pereira (PSG), Rúben Neves (Wolves), João Moutinho (Wolves), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United),  Renato Sanches (Lille), Sérgio Oliveira (FC Porto)

Forwards: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Trincão (Barcelona), Pedro Neto (Wolves), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), João Félix (Atlético Madrid), Paulinho (Braga)

 by Tom Kundert

Comments (6)

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Great squad but neto over leao? Bit suprised since leao can play forward or wing.....

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Why wasn’t leão called up he’s going to be big should be introduced sooner rather than later. His stats are also better than both the new call ups.

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For those asking about Leão, let’s put this into context. Would you rather watch him ride the bench with the A team or be a starter for the U21 where he can help them with crucial qualification matches? Dany Mota is not good enough to be leading...

For those asking about Leão, let’s put this into context. Would you rather watch him ride the bench with the A team or be a starter for the U21 where he can help them with crucial qualification matches? Dany Mota is not good enough to be leading the line for them.

The one whose been hard done by is André silva. The guy is in the form of his life practically guaranteeing a goal or assist per match but somehow gets left off for Paulinho. I think there have been times when Paulinho should have been called up specifically last season but not this time.


Mário Rui getting called up is ridiculous though. The guy has barley played this season. We have an absolute stud in Nuno Mendes. If Santos’ reasoning is that he doesn’t think he’s ready which I don’t think any one who has watched him play would agree with, then there’s always Nuno Sequeira. He’s a guaranteed starter for Braga and rarely puts a foot wrong.

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Yes sir on Silva and Leao.

The answer to your question Ash is most people only care about 1 club or watch 1 league and thats it. There have been multiple baffling posts about Andre Silva being a let down or not performing, obviously from people...

Yes sir on Silva and Leao.

The answer to your question Ash is most people only care about 1 club or watch 1 league and thats it. There have been multiple baffling posts about Andre Silva being a let down or not performing, obviously from people who dont really watch footy but watch their one club and thats it. Silva has been amazing every game for Frankfurt over 2 seasons now. Scoring with thunderbolts as well. No clue why he is left off for Paulinho but I am confident Santos did it for a reason. Might be formation related or something we dont know about. As long a Santos keeps the communication open (and he does) its good.

Good problems to have for Portugal.

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Why isn’t Pepe included in the squad? Injury? Covid-19?

He will surely be missed against the likes of France and Croatia...

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I am always happy when players from outside the Big Three are called up. Nice to see Paulinho finally getting a call, but his season has so far not been great. His match against Leicester last night was disappointing. He seems to be a little slow...

I am always happy when players from outside the Big Three are called up. Nice to see Paulinho finally getting a call, but his season has so far not been great. His match against Leicester last night was disappointing. He seems to be a little slow at times. I am hoping for Ricardo Horta to be called up in the near future.

Sporting players have still been left in the dark, but very soon players like Pedro Goncalves, Nuno Mendes, and Nuno Santos will get the call. I am also very impressed with Joao Palhinha at the team.

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