Fernando Santos announces Portugal’s World Cup playoff squad

Fábio Carvalho gets U21 call-up

Portugal coach Fernando Santos has named a 25-man squad for the World Cup playoffs. In the absence of the injured Rúben Dias, Santos has called up Sporting centre-back Gonçalo Inácio.

Several in-form players miss out, notably Porto’s Vitinha, Braga’s Ricardo Horta and Wolves goalkeeper José Sá, while Sporting midfielder João Palhinha’s absence will also cause debate. On the other hand, Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), Rafael Leão (Milan) and Cédric Soares (Arsenal) are rewarded for excellent recent displays at club level. 

“This is one of the most important moments since I became Portugal coach,” said Fernando Santos, who took over as manager of the Seleção in 2014. 

“We will be playing for Portugal, the stadium has been sold out for a month, we know the whole country is behind us. The focus is total to win and get to the World Cup.”

Portugal host Turkey at the Estádio do Dragão on 24 March. If the Seleção win, they qualify for the final against either North Macedonia or Italy, also to be played at the Dragão, on 29 March, the winners of which will be at the Qatar World Cup while the losers watch on from afar.

Portugal squad for FIFA World Cup 2022 playoffs

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

Defenders: Cédric Soares (Arsenal), João Cancelo (Manchester City), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Gonçalo Inácio (Sporting), José Fonte (Lille), Pepe (Porto), Nuno Mendes (PSG), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders: Danilo Pereira (PSG), Matheus Nunes (Sporting), William Carvalho (Real Betis), Rúben Neves (Wolves), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), João Moutinho (Wolves), Otávio Monteiro (Porto), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) 

Forwards: João Félix (Atlético Madrid), André Silva (RB Leipzig), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), Rafael Leão (AC Milan)

Article update (24/03/2022)

Injuries to goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and midfielder Rúben Neves and a positive Covid-19 test for Pepe led to three changes to the originally selected squad. The trio have been replaced by José Sá, Tiago Djaló and Vitinha respectively. Should Portugal beat Turkey, Pepe may be available to play in the final next Tuesday, if he recovers from Covid in time. 


Portugal U21 squad – Fábio Carvalho called up

Meanwhile U21 coach Rui Jorge announced the Portugal squad that will host Iceland on 25 March in Portimão in the Algarve then travel to play Greece on 29 March as part of their Euro 2023 qualifying campaign. The big news is the call-up of Fulham’s exciting rising star Fábio Carvalho.

Goalkeepers: Celton Biai (Vitória), Samuel Soares (Benfica), Gonçalo Tabuaço (Estrela)

Defenders: Eduardo Quaresma (Tondela), Alexandre Penetra (Famalicão), João Mário (Porto), Nuno Tavares (Arsenal), Tiago Djaló (Lille), Tomás Tavares (FC Basel 1983)

Midfielders: Afonso Sousa (Belenenses SAD), André Almeida (Vitória), Fábio Vieira (Porto), Paulo Bernardo (Benfica), Tiago Dantas (Tondela), Vítor Ferreira (Porto), José Carlos (Varzim), Fábio Carvalho (Fulham)

Forwards: Fábio Silva (Wolves), Francisco Conceição (FC Porto), Gonçalo Ramos (Benfica), Gonçalo Borges (Porto), Henrique Araújo (Benfica), Vítor Oliveira (Braga)

By Tom Kundert