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 The trio have been replaced by José Sá, Tiago Djaló and Vitinha respectively.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

 

Comments (45)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Just imagine selecting Joao Moutinho over Renato Sanches. No seriously really think about that, it quite possibly could be the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen. Good thinking Fernando, we always need more slow small guys that can foul players and pass...

Just imagine selecting Joao Moutinho over Renato Sanches. No seriously really think about that, it quite possibly could be the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen. Good thinking Fernando, we always need more slow small guys that can foul players and pass the ball sideways and backwards.

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Justin/rochester
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Renato is unavailable with an injury.

Chris
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Good work to bring Fabio Carvalho into the fold! I hope he has accepted the call and is not set on representing England.

In the same vain, I am surprised we haven't tried to charm Ezri Konsa into playing for Portugal after another solid year...

Good work to bring Fabio Carvalho into the fold! I hope he has accepted the call and is not set on representing England.

In the same vain, I am surprised we haven't tried to charm Ezri Konsa into playing for Portugal after another solid year with Aston Villa, especially given our woes at central defence.

Surprised no call for Jose Sa after a fantastic campaign thus far with Wolves. Don't know why Otavio is in the squad over Vitinha but otherwise few surprises. I am not optimistic for the play offs and I think it's high time Fernando Santos steps aside, but I hope we can somehow pull of qualification all the same.

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Christopher Santos
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Also, surprised to see a number of the Benfica B players omitted from the U21s, like Gouveia and Brito who have been fantastic this year but oh well.

Christopher Santos
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Imagine a man with no plan. Look closely at the midfield callups and tell me you know what Santos is planning because i sure as hell dont.

2 DM's, 2 CM's, a couple AM's, converted winger and Mateus Nunes? I understand Otavio but why not play the...

Imagine a man with no plan. Look closely at the midfield callups and tell me you know what Santos is planning because i sure as hell dont.

2 DM's, 2 CM's, a couple AM's, converted winger and Mateus Nunes? I understand Otavio but why not play the best midfield in Portugal atm? Otavio-Vitinha-(whoever)?

Jose Sa has been heads and tails the best Portuguese keeper for at least a year now, not even mentioned.

Why callup a guy like Neves who should be at the heart of the mid and never use him? Why is Bruno F called at all? He should see NO action and if he does Santos is clearly high on crack.

It is exactly as we all suspected, its DEFEND garbage call football and pray Ronaldo scores a couple worldies....disaster awaits.

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Val
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So, let's get the Party-pooping in effect right away!

Not only will Jose Sa NOT be starting, he won't even get a call-up! Meanwhile, Patricio who has been garbage at Roma, will likely start.

William is back, because..........reasons, but...

So, let's get the Party-pooping in effect right away!

Not only will Jose Sa NOT be starting, he won't even get a call-up! Meanwhile, Patricio who has been garbage at Roma, will likely start.

William is back, because..........reasons, but Vitinha, arguably the player of the season in Portugal is where????

Thank you Enginheiro, I will enjoy watching your complete lack of a tactical plan crash and burn.

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Chris
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Santos is to engineering what a PHD in gender studies is to doctorates.

Val
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In fairness William Carvalho has been in good form for Real Betis and Danilo will likely be centre back ahead of Inacio should Fonte or Pepe be unable to play as Fernando Santos isn't one to take risks like handing an inexperienced central...

In fairness William Carvalho has been in good form for Real Betis and Danilo will likely be centre back ahead of Inacio should Fonte or Pepe be unable to play as Fernando Santos isn't one to take risks like handing an inexperienced central defender his first cap in a world cup play off.

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Christopher Santos
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William has been decent but for me it's about the pieces as well, and William for the Seleccao has been mediocre the last 2-3 years. I would have preferred seeing Palhinha in his place.

Chris
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Arguably the player of the season in Portugal, you mean Ricardo Horta, right? I think there's some bias here.

Vitinha has been very influential in the last 3 to 4 weeks and that's about it, but when you see Ricardo Horta, he has been influential...

Arguably the player of the season in Portugal, you mean Ricardo Horta, right? I think there's some bias here.

Vitinha has been very influential in the last 3 to 4 weeks and that's about it, but when you see Ricardo Horta, he has been influential from day 1, both in the league and the Europa League.

I know Vitinha plays much lesser games than Ricardo Horta, but let's not kid anybody here. Just look at their stats. Currently, Ricardo Horta has 15 goals in the league compared to a mere 2 goals by Vitinha. And in terms of assist, Ricardo Horta has 3 compared to 1 by Vitinha.

Still, the national team is stacked with very talented players and I don't think neither Ricardo Horta or Vitinha are worthy of a call up right now.

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Dhazer
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No Dhazer, I meant Vitinha, who has been player of the month already 3 times this season, and who is Porto's midfield maestro. He has not been influential for a few weeks, he has been Porto's engine since he got regular playing time in...

No Dhazer, I meant Vitinha, who has been player of the month already 3 times this season, and who is Porto's midfield maestro. He has not been influential for a few weeks, he has been Porto's engine since he got regular playing time in mid-September.

I can concede that you make an excellent point about Ricardo Horta and Braga players being less visible to the Seleccao. I agree Horta has had a breakout season, and arguably, has been exceptional for quite a few seasons.

But saying Horta deserves selection over Vitinha is inaccurate since they serve very different roles. Horta is a winger or 2nd striker and Vitinha is a classic #8 who has #10 characteristics as well. I would say his game is most similar to a Luca Modric, whereas Horta is closer to a Neymar type in positioning and goal-scoring.

If you were to say Horta should have been selected over a useless addition such as Bruno Fernandes, I could get behind that for sure.

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Chris
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The squad that Santos picked was pretty decent , how he manages the game might be a completely different story. I really like the way Cedric has been playing for Arsenal , his tracking back to defend has been impressive. Santos might not be able...

The squad that Santos picked was pretty decent , how he manages the game might be a completely different story. I really like the way Cedric has been playing for Arsenal , his tracking back to defend has been impressive. Santos might not be able to utilize our talent with his outdated tactics but I still think we have enough to win. Let's face it, if we can't win these 2 home games then we wouldn't have a chance to win the world cup anyway , and for those of you thinking the draw was terrible , I'd much rather play Italy at home in a final then Poland on the road , not to mention Italy is not in form like they were when they won the Euro.

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Gee Dee
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I am not completely surprised with the selection.

The fact that Jose Sa hasn’t been called up is to me a little surprising. Even looking past Santos’ incompetence I would have thought that one of the best goalies in the Premier League would...

I am not completely surprised with the selection.

The fact that Jose Sa hasn’t been called up is to me a little surprising. Even looking past Santos’ incompetence I would have thought that one of the best goalies in the Premier League would have surely been called up. Not only is he a great shot stopper, he is talented with his feet and his distribution is top-notch. I will lose my s*** if Patricio starts. Thankful for Euro2016/NL2018, but everything must come to an end. He’s lost confidence, is playing poorly at Roma, and with the ball at is his feet he’s a goddamn joke. I was sure that the game against Serbia would be his last for the Seleçao, but Santos’ stubbornness and reliance on dinosaurs has once again prevailed.

5 fullbacks and 3 centerbacks (4 with Danilo)…interesting. CB is where we are lacking the most in our squad, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fonte and Pepe will be the main pairing. I’m afraid that we’ll play conservative football and lineup with Cedric, Fonte, Pepe, Guerreiro in the back.

Huge miss with Sanches out, but this only makes more room for Matheus Nunes to shine. Don’t know what Otavio is doing here, a complete waste of space, who likely won’t see any of the pitch during these games. I think it would’ve been better to bring David Carmo or Fabio Cardoso in his spot, and have another centerback who’s under 39yo ready to go!?

What concerns me is that other than Otavio there are no RM, which leads me to believe that Bernardo might be stuck playing there

Can someone shed some light on the situation with Palhinha? Has he had a real dip in form or is just playing less given his inevitable departure in the summer?

I think it’s now Felix’s time to shine. He’s found consistency, hasn’t been injured, and Simeone has turned him into a solid defender. Although I don’t think Atleti is the best fit for Felix, he’s been playing some spectacular football lately. I would love to see him play with Ronaldo up top, dropping deeper to create space and pull some strings.

If we were playing today with these callups, I would line up:
Diogo Costa
Cancelo, Inacio, Pepe, Mendes
Danilo, Nunes, Bernardo
Felix, Ronaldo, Leao

Also brilliant move to bring in Fabio Carvalho to the under21 squad. Guy is budding with talent, very excited that he’s playing for Portugal now!

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Teresa
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Mendes is a baby without experience, Rafael is a reliable deep defender.

Neville
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I hope you’re joking about Raphael Guerreiro being a “reliable deep defender”! He only operates well in a wingback position. You surely haven’t watched Dortmund these past few seasons if you’re calling on him to be a deep defender. He’s exposed...

I hope you’re joking about Raphael Guerreiro being a “reliable deep defender”! He only operates well in a wingback position. You surely haven’t watched Dortmund these past few seasons if you’re calling on him to be a deep defender. He’s exposed defensively quite frequently actually. Found too far forward just like TAA for Liverpool. Going forward however, he’s a real threat, his productivity and stats back that up. If we play in a back 5, which I’ve been wishing for years now, I agree he should start. In a back 4, Mendes should start. He’s had experience with the NT, plays regularly for PSG, and he’s been extremely important for them this season. He’s 19 yes, but he’s made 8 CL appearances this season, and a bunch of others in Ligue1. Alphonso Davies’ was just a baby when he picked apart Barcelona and won the CL with Bayern. Leading up to that season, I remember going through Bayern forums and seeing how unhappy some fans were with early involvement and called on Lucas Hernandez to play LB. Of course over time they eventually warmed up to him, especially once the trophies started rolling in.

If we refuse to hand some chances and appearances to the hard-working young players coming through our ranks, we effectively stick to Santos’ philosophy.

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Teresa
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The German, Bundesliga league is far superior league than the French Ligue 1.

The Bundesliga is aggressive tactful with quality.

The only difference between the two is that the Emir of Qatar has brought in the best players from different...

The German, Bundesliga league is far superior league than the French Ligue 1.

The Bundesliga is aggressive tactful with quality.

The only difference between the two is that the Emir of Qatar has brought in the best players from different continent but there isn't any competition within the Ligue1.

Rafael is a tactful, robust intelligent and with experience player, playing for top league in the world, whereas Nuno is an inexperience player playing with a bunch of top class players so you will definitely SHINE.

Players playing with national need to have all the good attributes with guns firing from all directions with rich experience.

PORTUGAL DO NOT REQUIRE BABIES AT THIS JUNCTURE, this isn't a friendly to teach baby's.

Knowing very well its a DO or Die match, a FINAL to reach the WC and Portugal has ageing CB.

NUNO need to be breast fed at this point of time and so Diego Dalot.

Last championship match Diego Dalot was bird watching conceding a goal against Atletico Madrid.

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Neville
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Again, I watch Dortmund most weekends (huge fan of Haaland and Reus) and when Raphael has been fit, he has not defended well, plain and simple.

He’s caught out VERY FREQUENTLY. Did you watch the first leg against Rangers? If you didn’t, watch a...

Again, I watch Dortmund most weekends (huge fan of Haaland and Reus) and when Raphael has been fit, he has not defended well, plain and simple.

He’s caught out VERY FREQUENTLY. Did you watch the first leg against Rangers? If you didn’t, watch a highlight pack or the match and look how he and the Dortmund backline get burned. I want to reiterate, I think Guerreiro should start only in a LWB OR LM position. Otherwise, Nuno deserves to start.

He surely couldn’t have been a huge part in the Sporting side that won their first Liga in over 20 years if he’s just merely a baby?

I want to leave my argument on the defensive solidity of Mendes and Guerreiro here:

(According to FBref scouting reports in comparison to all LBs in Europe’s top 5 leagues)
Nuno Mendes per/90:
Pressures: 13.97
Tackles: 2.57
Interceptions: 2.09
Blocks: 2.78
Clearances: 1.18
Aerials won 0.43

Guerreiro per/90:
Pressures: 9.85
Tackles: 1.83
Interceptions: 1.67
Blocks: 1.17
Clearances: 1.09
Aerials won: 0.19

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Teresa
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Possibly everyone on this website must be doing exactly what you been doing watching Portuguese players across continent, so its nothing new.

When you compare players like to like, you first need to compare the league they play in.

Is the...

Possibly everyone on this website must be doing exactly what you been doing watching Portuguese players across continent, so its nothing new.

When you compare players like to like, you first need to compare the league they play in.

Is the BUNDESLIGA at the same level as Ligue1 - A BIG NO.

If Rafael plays in Ligue 1 he could be called the best left back in Europe because he better than all the LB in Ligue1. Rafael will be having the best STATISTIC.

So Portugal Selecao needs experience players to play the two knockout games not baby's like Nuno.

REALITY - PSG should have represented LIGUE 1 in the last eight of UEFA Championship.

PSG is the richest club in Europe with BEST STARS NEYMAR, MESSI, KYLIA, SERGIO RAMOS, Di Maria etc Where is the team?

SO WHEN YOU COMPARE A PLAYER, COMPARE THE LEAGUE because statics change based on the opposition you encounter in the league.

HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND WHY WE NEED RAFAEL AND NOT BABY NUNO

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Neville
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Guerreiro is not great at defending, especially in 1v1 situations, sorry, that’s plain and simple, statistics and highlight packs prove it (not to mention the samples and examples from the CL group stage/EL R32).

I agree that the bundesliga is...

Guerreiro is not great at defending, especially in 1v1 situations, sorry, that’s plain and simple, statistics and highlight packs prove it (not to mention the samples and examples from the CL group stage/EL R32).

I agree that the bundesliga is better than the French league, but Guerreiro’s defending stats leaves him in about 40th percentile of Bundesliga fullbacks for the statistics mentioned above.

Guerreiro played in Ligue1 for Lorient until after our Euro triumph in 2016 actually, and you’re right, he was perhaps the best LB in Ligue1! But he was just a BABY.

He did extremely well for us and has ever since then. He’s evolved as a player, and has effectively become a LWB/LM, and has excelled in that position. If this was 2016, I’m sure I would be arguing for Guerreiro to start on LB and you arguing for Eliseu to start because Guerreiro was just a BABY.

The differences on this page make it entertaining, and I love to break down and suggest/analyze tactics, opinions on who we think should start.

Let’s hope whoever starts in that LB position plays well and gets us to WC2022.

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Teresa
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Baby Nuno has never played a high intensity nerve racking game or ever mentally prepared himself for a 120 minutes play with all concentration & pressure.

Neville
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I think overall this is a pretty solid team, definitely think Vitinha and Sa should have been in the team, but other than them this team should 100% be good enough to get us to the World Cup assuming Santos plays the right players. I was looking...

I think overall this is a pretty solid team, definitely think Vitinha and Sa should have been in the team, but other than them this team should 100% be good enough to get us to the World Cup assuming Santos plays the right players. I was looking at the team and who would be our best 25 man squad for the World Cup in November assuming we qualify and if everyone was healthy/not suspended and this is what I had...

Goalkeepers: (Drop Lopes)
- Jose Sa (Should be starter)
- Rui Patrício (experienced backup)
- Diogo Costa (keep for young 3rd keeper)

Defenders: (Drop Dalot, Cédric, José Fonte)
- João Cancelo
- Nelson Semedo
- Ruben Dias
- Pepe
- Gonçalo Inácio
- David Carmo/Tiago Djalo (Pick 1 of these 2, whoever is in better form)
- Nuno Mendes
- Raphael Guerreiro

Midfielders: (Drop Moutinho, Otavio)
- Joao Palhinha
- Danilo Pereira/William Carvalho (pick 1/drop 1, whoever is in better form)
- Rúben Neves
- Vitinha
- Matheus Nunes
- Renato Sanches
- Bernardo Silva
- Bruno Fernandes

Forwards:
- João Félix
- André Silva
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Diogo Jota
- Gonçalo Guedes
- Rafael Leão
- Pedro Neto

I think this is our best team and gives you a variety of youth and leadership. Renato Sanches and Pedro Neto are 2 players we need to be healthy and in our lineup, we lack right sided attackers (bernardo needs to play in the middle) and we need Renatos dynamism in the midfield! Our best 11 should be:

Leao/Jota Ronaldo Neto
Sanches Bernardo
Palhinha
Guerreiro Dias Pepe Cancelo
Sa

Bruno Fernandes doesn't seem to mesh well with the team and can come off the bench as an impact sub if we need a goal. He should be starting on the bench with Bernardo playing in the middle.

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KevinS91
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When you look at this squad it's a bunch of highly talented individuals that do not flourish together. That is why i've directed my frustrations at the coach for a very long time. Imagine Santos was given the keys to a Bayern Munich or a Real...

When you look at this squad it's a bunch of highly talented individuals that do not flourish together. That is why i've directed my frustrations at the coach for a very long time. Imagine Santos was given the keys to a Bayern Munich or a Real Madrid? These teams would sweat just to make it past the group stage. I also don't get the hate that gets piled on Moutinho or Patricio. Let's cut our players some slack when 80% or more of their careers have been excellent for Portugal. Bruno Fernandes not so much. And Otavio who? He has two caps and it's time we stop naturalizing average players. I rather have Joao Mario. Euro Cup winner with way more national team experience for two potentially grueling elimination games. Thumbs up for Cedric and Gonçalo Guedes. Not sold on Mendes or Dalot quite yet. Paulinha is a huge miss. Don't even get me started on the pylons.

My last point is for CRonaldo. 5+ years ago.. head and shoulders above any of our current forwards. Presently, he's the puzzle that needs all the right pieces to function at all. There's only one solution. He needs to be surrounded with speed as well as someone who actually occupies a centre forward position. He no longer can blaze down the sides as a traditional winger and it's an age old fact that he's ineffective as the #9 striker nor does he enjoy having his back turned towards the net. The best possible solution in my opinion is:

Ronaldo----Andre Silva----Guedes

Guerreiro bombing forward from wingback and Bernardo can also combine from the left mid position. Guedes requires no introduction. He runs, has an incredible range for shooting and knows how to put in a cross. Diogo Jota of course is bursting with energy and stamina but literally no finesse. We are not England. We are naturally blessed with technical players so let's use this to our advantage and I guarantee Ronnie will be receiving a lot more service.

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SupremoGino
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Tell me if Moutinho can track back on defense at this stage of his career? If you watch the games in England you could see it, we must admit that certain players don't have it anymore. In regards to Ronaldo - all he needs is for someone on this...

Tell me if Moutinho can track back on defense at this stage of his career? If you watch the games in England you could see it, we must admit that certain players don't have it anymore. In regards to Ronaldo - all he needs is for someone on this team to serve him the ball. Give him chances, that's all we are asking for.

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Rodrigues Antonio
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Not hating nor piling on of Patrico or Moutinho just recognizing that its time to move on. We are seeing alot more of that 20% poor play lately rather than the 80% you mentioned. Rui is poor on distribution, either kicks the ball out of...

Not hating nor piling on of Patrico or Moutinho just recognizing that its time to move on. We are seeing alot more of that 20% poor play lately rather than the 80% you mentioned. Rui is poor on distribution, either kicks the ball out of bounds or simply kicks it downfield aimlessly to the other team. When do you award players like Jose Sa and Paulinha for their good play and recognize them rather than hang on to the past? However overall I agree with you on your other points.

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John Senos
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Why is RICARDO PEREIRA not called up.

Ricardo Pereira is a reliable player than Diego Dalot.

Last Championship match Diago Dalot was bird watching instead of defending Atletico Madrid Goal.

Neville
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He's always injured.

Christopher Santos
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Ricardo played on 17/03/2022 , thats yesterday against RENNES VS. LEICESTER CITY UEFA Europa Conference League.

RICARDO IS A FANTASTIC PLAYER VERY RELIABLE UPFRONT AND BACK

Neville
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The talent is there. It all depends on two things.

1) The 11 on the field and their position
2) The plan (attack/defend)

Jerrold Hewson
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Great point:
1) we know that this coach will go conservative - meaning 4 defenders and 2 defensive midfielders - Neves will not get the start, so Moutinho and William/Danillo.
2) This coach doesn't have a plan - it's like the NY Knicks no...

Great point:
1) we know that this coach will go conservative - meaning 4 defenders and 2 defensive midfielders - Neves will not get the start, so Moutinho and William/Danillo.
2) This coach doesn't have a plan - it's like the NY Knicks no offensive plan, all ISO.
The problem with this game is that Turkey knows full well what Serbia did to us and they have a plan to succeed. This coach has no idea how to implement a plan to stop what Serbia did or what Turkey is going to do. Our saving grace will be if we play a team game and feed Ronaldo. Feed Ronaldo.

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Rodrigues Antonio
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“I tried to take advantage of every minute the mister gave me. It wasn’t the result we wanted, we always want to win, but we played a great team with some of the best players in the world and a draw ended up a positive outcome.”

Ricardo Horta
(Portugal’s goalscoring substitute after 1-1 draw against Spain in Seville in the Nations League) 

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