The wait is over. Fernando Santos announced Portugal’s 26-man squad who will defend their European Championship crown at FPF headquarters in Cidade do Futebol on the outskirts of Lisbon tonight.
There were no big surprises. William Carvalho is recalled, Pedro Gonçalves makes the cut – his debut callup to the senior Seleção – after his sensational season for Sporting, and Gonçalo Guedes is rewarded for his recent resurgence in form.
Players who may feel unlucky to miss out include defenders Ricardo Pereira and Domingos Duarte.
Portugal’s European Championship 2020 squad:
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Rui Patrício (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Rui Silva (Granada)
Defenders: João Cancelo (Manchester City), Nélson Semedo (Wolverhampton Wanderers), José Fonte (Lille), Pepe (FC Porto), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), Nuno Mendes (Sporting), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)
Midfielders: Danilo Pereira (PSG), João Palhinha (Sporting), Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Renato Sanches (Lille), Sérgio Oliveira (FC Porto), William Carvalho (Real Bétis)
Forwards: Pedro Gonçalves (Sporting), André Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), João Félix (Atlético Madrid), Rafa Silva (Benfica)
Fernando Santos quotes
Will this be Ronaldo’s last Euro? “I don’t know. With Ronado it’s tough to make that judgement, he’s a machine. He takes care of himself in all facets, he takes really good care of himself. I played with [José] Torres when he was 42 years old, and just yesterday we saw a player, a goalkeeper, win the Italian cup with the same age. It will depend on him, but we can’t rule it out. I believe he will be at World Cup 2022. Afterwards it will depend on him, I can’t answer that.”
On a 26-man squad instead of the usual 23. “This squad selection wasn’t easy, but it’s more because of a question of management. I’m an advocate of a 23-man squad, because all the players can then be on the bench and that is very important. For the first time, in a different context, and although I agreed with the other coaches to this increase given the circumstances, there will be 26. I’m going to have to leave three players out every match, and that won’t be easy to manage.”
On calling up William Carvalho, despite little playing time at his club: “He hasn’t played much for his club, but he’s not injured. Some players play with one coach and not with another. William has qualities that none of our other players have. He can bring important things to us and we have time to get him match fit. With a 26-man squad, I thought I should include William. He can be a 6, a 8, a 10, he’s very versatile.”
Is Portugal playing a three-centre-back system a possibility? “That’s not my thinking. It may happen as a one-off, but as our system, no. ”
You have selected only three centre-backs. Can Danilo be the fourth centre-back? “Danilo is a midfielder, but he can play as a central defender. But he won’t play in this position unless it’s an extraordinary situation.”
Are Portugal favourites? “We are European champions, which makes us all proud. The support of the Portuguese people is fundamental and this support, together with the ability of this team, leads me to make the same commitment we made in 2016. When nobody expected it, I said we were contenders to win the trophy. We’re going to the tournament with this aim and I have great confidence in the players. I have the same conviction that we are contenders to win this tournament.”
When did you decide Pedro Gonçalves would be selected? “He’s been on the list as a possibility for selection since the last squad. He had a good season at Famalicão, and we’ve been watching him at Sporting. Two Sporting players made it earlier than him, Palhinha and Nuno Mendes. I went to the stadium several times to watch him. But no, it was not last night’s match that influenced the decision.”
by Tom Kundert