Fernando Santos has announced the Portugal squad for the upcoming matches against Qatar (friendly) and Luxembourg (World Cup qualifier).

The main news is the debut call-up of Sporting midfielder Matheus Nunes.

Also worthy of note are recalls for William Carvalho and Diogo Dalot. 

Matheus Nunes was born in Rio de Janeiro but has lived in Portugal since he was 13 years old. His impressive progression in Sporting’s first team attracted attention on the other side of the Atlantic, and Nunes was selected by Brazil in the previous international break, one month ago.

Nunes, who was eligible to play for Portugal or Brazil, declined the invitation from the country of his birth, and earlier this week revealed he had chosen to represent A Seleção portuguesa instead of A Seleção brasileira.

“I’ve made my decision,” said Nunes, ahead of Sporting’s Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund. “I spoke to both coaches (of Brazil and Portugal). After giving it a lot of thought with my family, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is best to play for Portugal. I think I’m going to be happier here.

“It was the hardest decision I’ve made in my career. I arrived in Portugal aged 13, I feel Portuguese, but when I received the call-up from Brazil it was a very proud moment. Having to decide between one or the other, I would end up gaining whichever I chose, but I think I’ve made the right decision.”

Just three days later, Nunes received news that he will have an immediate opportunity to gauge whether or not he made a sound decision, as Santos named him in Portugal’s 24-man squad. “Matheus Nunes has been knocking on the door of the Seleção for some time, and now that door has opened,” said Santos.

Curiously, Nunes replaces another Brazilian-born midfielder, with Porto midfielder Otávio missing out after picking up an injury in the Champions League encounter against Liverpool on Tuesday.

Both William Carvalho and Diogo Dalot have earned a recall. The Betis midfielder and the Manchester United right-back were part of the Euro 2020 squad, but neither player made the cut for Portugal’s matches earlier this month.

Portugal take on the World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar on Friday 9 October, then lock horns against Luxembourg in a Group A World Cup qualifier. Both matches will take place at the Estádio Algarve.  

Full Portugal squad

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Diogo Costa (Porto), Rui Patrício (Roma)

Defenders: João Cancelo (Manchester City), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Domingos Duarte (Granada), Pepe (Porto), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), Nuno Mendes (PSG), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders: Danilo Pereira (PSG), João Palhinha (Sporting), Matheus Nunes (Sporting), William Carvalho (Real Betis), Rúben Neves (Wolves), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), João Mário (Benfica), João Moutinho (Wolves)

Forwards: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), André Silva (Leipzig), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), Rafa Silva (Benfica)



U21 double-header in Euro 2023 qualification campaign

Portugal’s U21 team are also playing twice this international break, hosting Liechtenstein in Vizela on 7 October, then travelling to Reykjavik to play Iceland on 12 October.

Coach Rui Jorge called up 23 players for the two matches.

Portugal U21 squad

Goalkeepers: Celton Biai (Vitória), João Gonçalves (Boavista), Gonçalo Tabuaço (Estrela)

Defenders: Eduardo Quaresma (Tondela), João Mário (Porto), Nuno Tavares (Arsenal), Tiago Djaló (Lille), Tiago Araújo (Arouca), Tomás Tavares (FC Basel), Tomás Araújo (Benfica)

Midfielders: Afonso Sousa (Belenenses 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