Diogo Costa, Gonçalo Inácio and Otávio selected
Fernando Santos has announced Portugal’s squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland and Azerbaijan.
Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa, his team-mate Otávio Monteiro and Sporting centre-back Gonçalo Inácio have been given their first call-ups to the senior national team.
There were also recalls for Ricardo Pereira, Domingos Duarte and João Mário, all of whom missed out on the European Championship in the summer.
Notable absentees in relation to the Euro squad include Nélson Semedo, Sérgio Oliveira, William and José Fonte.
The debut call-ups of Inácio and Costa represent the beginning of a new cycle. The Sporting defender, who turned 20 years old yesterday, enjoyed a brilliant rookie season last year playing his full part in Sporting’s title triumph. Diogo Costa, 21, has long been touted as the future of Portugal between the posts, and has displaced Marchesín as the Porto starter so far in 2021/22.
Brazilian-born Otávio obtained Portuguese citizenship in March and continues the recent tradition of Portugal calling up players born in the South American country but who have made their name playing in the Portuguese league, such as Deco, Pepe, Liedson and Dyego Sousa.
Santos started looking forward to the next step of his tenure as Portugal coach by looking back. “The Euro didn’t work out as we wanted, but there were positives. We have to rectify some things and maintain what we did well,” he said.
The Seleção first face Ireland in the Algarve stadium on 1 September, and Santos is not expecting anything other than a stern test. “Ireland played an excellent game in Serbia. We have to respect our opponents. It is a team that works hard, that fights hard. If we are not at our best we could have problems.”
Portugal are currently joint top of Group A, alongside Serbia, both nations having accumulated 7 points from their first 3 matches. After the match against Ireland next Wednesday, Portugal travel to Hungary where they will play a friendly against the World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar, and then move on to Baku to play Azerbaijan on 7 September.
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Diogo Costa (Porto), Rui Patrício (Roma)
Defenders: João Cancelo (Manchester City), Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City), Domingos Duarte (Granada), Gonçalo Inácio (Sporting), Pepe (Porto), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), Nuno Mendes (Sporting), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)
Midfielders: Danilo Pereira (PSG), João Palhinha (Sporting), Rúben Neves (Wolves), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), João Mário (Benfica), João Moutinho (Wolves), Otávio (Porto)
Forwards: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), André Silva (Leipzig), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), Pedro Gonçalves (Sporting), Rafa Silva (Benfica)
Portugal U21s begin Euro 2023 campaign
Rui Jorge, the Seleção U21 coach, also announced the squad that will begin the campaign to qualify for the European Championship to be jointly hosted in Georgia and Romania in 2023.
Portugal, who finished runners-up in this summer’s U21 Euro, start off against Belarus on 6 September in Amadora, on the outskirts of Lisbon.
Portugal U21 squad
Goalkeepers: Celton Biai (Vitória), João Monteiro (B SAD), João Gonçalves (Boavista)
Defenders: Eduardo Quaresma (CD Tondela), João Mário (Porto), Jota Gonçalves (Tondela), Nuno Tavares (Arsenal), Tiago Djaló (Lille), Tiago Araújo (Arouca), Tomás Tavares (Benfica), Tomás Araújo (Benfica)
Midfielders: Afonso Sousa (B SAD), André Almeida (Vitória), Fábio Vieira (Porto), Paulo Bernardo (Benfica), Tiago Dantas (Tondela), Tomás Händel (Vitória), Vítor Ferreira (Porto)
Forwards: Fábio Silva (Wolves), Francisco Conceição (Porto), Gonçalo Ramos (Benfica), Gonçalo Borges (Porto), Henrique Araújo (Benfica), Tiago Tomás (Sporting)
By Tom Kundert