Fernando Santos has announced the 26 players who will represent Portugal at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The main talking points were the inclusion of Benfica’s teenage centre-back António Silva, and the omission of PSG midfielder Renato Sanches. 

Portugal’s World Cup 2022 squad

Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa (Porto), José Sá (Wolves), Rui Patrício (Roma)

Defenders: Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), João Cancelo (Manchester City), Danilo Pereira (PSG), Pepe (Porto), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), António Silva (Benfica), Nuno Mendes (PSG), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders: João Palhinha (Fulham), Rúben Neves (Wolves), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), João Mário (Benfica), Matheus Nunes (Wolves), Otávio Monteiro (Porto), Vitinha (PSG), William Carvalho (Real Betis)

Forwards: André Silva (Leipzig), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Gonçalo Ramos (Benfica), João Félix (Atlético Madrid), Rafael Leão (AC Milan), Ricardo Horta (Braga) 

If you are interested, you can play around with BestBettingSites.com’s squad builder to pick your own starting players.

 

Silva’s meteoric rise

One of the criticisms levelled at Fernando Santos during the latter time of his 8-year tenure as Portugal coach has been his refusal to experiment young centre-backs.

It is therefore something of a surprise to see 19-year-old Benfica central defender António Silva make the cut. That said, the outstanding performances of the teenager, especially in high-profile matches against Porto, PSG and Juventus, means his inclusion is not controversial.

Sanches’ injuries catch up with him

More questionable to many will be the exclusion of Renato Sanches. The midfielder was outstanding for Portugal at Euro 2016 and arguably the Seleção’s best player at Euro 2020 (played in 2021).

The continuing injury concerns that have plagued Sanches throughout his career, and which have surfaced again since his move to Paris, perhaps influenced Fernando Santos’s decision.

Sanches has completed over an hour of a match only four times this season, and has not once played a full ninety minutes in 2022/23.

Santos was asked directly by Antenna 1 journalist Nuno Matos why Renato was left out and Matheus Nunes selected instead, but the coach refused to be drawn into detailed justifications.

“I’ve seen in the media a whole array of squad predictions and although they are very similar, I haven’t seen two that are exactly the same,” responded Santos. “If everybody in this room chose a 26-man squad, it would be a surprise if two were the same.

“It would not be elegant for me to say why one player was chosen over another – not for the player left out and not for the player included.” 

Wingless wonders?

One aspect that stands out from the squad is the lack of width in terms of attacking wide players. It is somewhat ironic that a country famed for its incredible production line of wingers (Futre, Figo, Ronaldo, Quaresma, Simão, Nani) will go to Qatar without a single recognised winger.

Part explained by the injury to Wolves winger Pedro Neto, and the recent retirement from international football of Rafa Silva, the omission of Gonçalo Guedes suggests that Santos will stick to the flat 4-4-2 formation that has rooted his tactics for most of his reign.

And with most of the midfield options playing centrally for their clubs, Portugal will be heavily reliant on their full-backs to provide width.

That said, quality in those positions is certainly not lacking. The contributions made by João Cancelo or Diogo Dalot on the right, and Nuno Mendes or Raphael Guerreiro on the left could be key to unlocking defences in tight matches. 

“We’re one of the favourites” - Santos 

Santos was asked by a Brazilian journalist who he considered were favourites to win the World Cup, answering as follows: 

“This is like the national leagues. When a new season starts, who are the favourites? It’s the team that won last time. So France are the favourites.

“Then there are a set of teams who all have legitimate claims to be among the favourites to win it, and Portugal are among that group.” 

Portugal schedule

The final clues we will get to Santos’s World Cup thinking will come next week when Portugal host Nigeria in a friendly match at the Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on 17 November, before embarking for the Middle East.

The Seleção kick off their World Cup campaign against Ghana on 24 November at the snappily named Stadium 974.

The second Group H match will be versus Uruguay on 28 November at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.

In Portugal’s final group match the Seleção face South Korea at the Education City Stadium on 2 December.

Força Portugal!

By Tom Kundert

 

Comments (69)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

The squad is solid.

No excuses.

It all comes down to who wants it more.
My only concern is Ronaldo.
If he will make it all about himself, he will be remembered in history for the wrong reasons.

His last shot of glory.

Let’s see what...

The squad is solid.

No excuses.

It all comes down to who wants it more.
My only concern is Ronaldo.
If he will make it all about himself, he will be remembered in history for the wrong reasons.

His last shot of glory.

Let’s see what happens.

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Will
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Unfortunately, knowing him, it's not looking good...

I am hoping, due to the make up of the team and a little bit of luck, that the team plays so well during these first three games, that he is forced to just be one member of the starting 11 and...

Unfortunately, knowing him, it's not looking good...

I am hoping, due to the make up of the team and a little bit of luck, that the team plays so well during these first three games, that he is forced to just be one member of the starting 11 and not the protagonist.

Would be great to see Portugal finally make some real noise at the World Cup...and not just scraping by, winning 1-0, playing for penalties, etc, etc.

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Martim Lucena
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Anyone who has watched CR7 the past ten years has seen him evolve and adapt to the limitations imposed by his aging body, but father time always ALWAYS wins. The "erosion" has accelerated the last few months and the statistics show that Man U is...

Anyone who has watched CR7 the past ten years has seen him evolve and adapt to the limitations imposed by his aging body, but father time always ALWAYS wins. The "erosion" has accelerated the last few months and the statistics show that Man U is a substantially better team when he starts on the bench. He has 3 goals in the equivalent of 11+ games of playing time.

He is a legend and is rightfully headed to Qatar, but he must not start the 2nd game vs Uruguay if his impact in game #1 is consistent to what we've seen with Man U of late.

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Nelson
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There is always a scare in the opposing team when C Ronaldo plays. Even the best defender will have to concentrate 50% on C Ronaldo moves which leaves other Portuguese players freedom to play the game and score. this has proved time and again.

By...

There is always a scare in the opposing team when C Ronaldo plays. Even the best defender will have to concentrate 50% on C Ronaldo moves which leaves other Portuguese players freedom to play the game and score. this has proved time and again.

By saying C Ronaldo played three games at Man U and he has not scored goals etc..... its lame assessment by an individual about C Ronaldo.

When C Ronaldo plays he gives the remaining team members an opportunity of freedom to play their game.

If we see Portuguese rise in football, it should be attributed to Eusebio, Figo and most recently to C Ronaldo having qualified for every World Cup and European Cup during his time captaining the Portugul team.

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Neville
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"lame assessment" , wow.

I only stated facts and then an opinion that he should not start a "do or die" 2nd game IF he shows poorly in the first game. I believe that a majority on here would say that he should not even start that first game but...

"lame assessment" , wow.

I only stated facts and then an opinion that he should not start a "do or die" 2nd game IF he shows poorly in the first game. I believe that a majority on here would say that he should not even start that first game but I'm willing to risk that in the hopes that he might have some magic left.... but he has ONE chance to prove it!

Facts...
- he is nearly 38 years old and has lost speed / stamina at an increasing rate the last 24 months
- he has not been a difference maker for Man United, the team has had a better record with him off the pitch
-his average player rating in the EPL this year is 6.39

CR7 will be most dangerous employed as a super sub where stamina becomes much less of an issue... if he starts and is expected to play 80+ minutes he is much more likely to be a liability. IF he has a lackluster first game it would be LAME for Santos to not have the guts to have him on the bench to start game #2.

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Nelson
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I agree that if he really struggles in the first game against Ghana, the coaching staff has to ABSOLUTELY re-evaluate whether he starts in a do or die game against Uruguay. This is not the EPL, where there is a zillion games to figure it out...WC...

I agree that if he really struggles in the first game against Ghana, the coaching staff has to ABSOLUTELY re-evaluate whether he starts in a do or die game against Uruguay. This is not the EPL, where there is a zillion games to figure it out...WC has 3 games and we REALLY cannot qualify for 2nd in this group. And Uruguay has had our number and we really need to beat the piss out of them here. Ronaldo should not start if he continues to struggle.

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Martim Lucena
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Ronaldo will play every second of every match no matter how he plays. That should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Santos
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Hope to see Portugal make it to at least the quarter finals. With Santos I doubt it though . Think we will struggle in the group. Florentino not going is great for Benfica though!

Bryan Cabral
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What makes you think Florentine is a better option than the others?

What are your criteria to select a player?

Neville
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I live in Lisboa and the first thing out of the mouth of a guy at bar next to my house was...

"Renato Sanches, not included? He was the best player at Euro 2016. Understood that is entirely irrelevant at this point. But he WAS the best player...

I live in Lisboa and the first thing out of the mouth of a guy at bar next to my house was...

"Renato Sanches, not included? He was the best player at Euro 2016. Understood that is entirely irrelevant at this point. But he WAS the best player during Nations League this year...."

I thought this was a valid point. Why wouldn't this guy be selected?

And I don't care about his PSG form. He was slowly getting back to doing what he did best.

We DO NOT have a midfielder with his qualities. Which I consider to be similar to Messi...holds the ball well, shields with his body, can dribble and take on defenders.

This one is a huge ???? for me.

Any one else agree? or have anyone else they think got slighted?

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Martim Lucena
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I'm a big fan of Sanches, but I'm not sure who I would bump from the team to make room for him.

Nelson
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Good point...not sure Otavio is better than Sanches as a player; on form, maybe. Same with Joao Mario..having a great season, but Sanches always a better player. It's a tough call. When Sanches is on, he's really one of the best in the world at...

Good point...not sure Otavio is better than Sanches as a player; on form, maybe. Same with Joao Mario..having a great season, but Sanches always a better player. It's a tough call. When Sanches is on, he's really one of the best in the world at his position.

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Martim Lucena
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take your pick mate any one of them ,hes far better than them all

Tomas Sheehan
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Martim, I agree with you. Renato is the typical player that blooms when wearing the NT shirt… simple as that. Bot calling him, but on the other hand calling Ronaldo is prove enough that this coach has no clue of how to build a team and get the...

Martim, I agree with you. Renato is the typical player that blooms when wearing the NT shirt… simple as that. Bot calling him, but on the other hand calling Ronaldo is prove enough that this coach has no clue of how to build a team and get the best out of it.

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Rolf Gerber
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Martin Lucena & Rolf Gerber,
I do love to watch Renato S playing.
He is a talented player, But the question is " Can he last 90 minutes or 1:20 hours of play?"
The last time he was selected to play for Nation league he was found unfit -...

Martin Lucena & Rolf Gerber,
I do love to watch Renato S playing.
He is a talented player, But the question is " Can he last 90 minutes or 1:20 hours of play?"
The last time he was selected to play for Nation league he was found unfit - injured, so do we want an injury-prone player who has to play for 90 minutes or 1:20 hours?

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Neville
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I hate to say this, but he can do, in 45-60 minutes, what those other guys do in 90-120...just saying..

Martim Lucena
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I'm expecting more of the same inconsistency. With Fernando "I've got nothing" Santos in charge expect to see further proof, yet again of the adage about "doing the same thing over & over again & expecting different results" i.e. winning....

I'm expecting more of the same inconsistency. With Fernando "I've got nothing" Santos in charge expect to see further proof, yet again of the adage about "doing the same thing over & over again & expecting different results" i.e. winning. Assuming S. Korea doesn't nip them to 2nd in group, Portugal will likely finish 2nd to Uruguay (who already beat them at the last world cup + remember the adage about "expecting different results" with Santos) so will lose to BRAZIL in following round of 16.

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F.C.JCHarvard
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I understand the view that a flat 4-4-2 is most likely here given the lack of a traditional winger, but couldn't Leao and/or even Cancelo excel deployed in that manner. Maybe Santos will surprise us? lol

Having said that, a tip of the cap to...

I understand the view that a flat 4-4-2 is most likely here given the lack of a traditional winger, but couldn't Leao and/or even Cancelo excel deployed in that manner. Maybe Santos will surprise us? lol

Having said that, a tip of the cap to Joao Moutinho for his past service... Jose Fonte too.

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Nelson
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I am happy that we didn't waste a midfield position for a "Leader" or "Icon" who probably won't see the field. We already have Ronaldo for that. Moutinho is a legend, though and one of the greatest ever for PT. As for Fonte, WAY too old. I would...

I am happy that we didn't waste a midfield position for a "Leader" or "Icon" who probably won't see the field. We already have Ronaldo for that. Moutinho is a legend, though and one of the greatest ever for PT. As for Fonte, WAY too old. I would have selected someone ahead of Pepe for that matter, too..

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Martim Lucena
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Oh yes, I'm not suggesting that either should be on the team. I'm merely recognizing their service.

Their absence is "visible" when you consider that CR7, Pepe, Patricio, William etc. will be on the plane to Qatar.

Nelson
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

With the loss of Jota and the elimination of Guedes, I could imagine Bernardo playing as a left winger.

Bernardo - Bruno - Otavio

I think, that Leao only works when Ronaldo doesn't play, because then too few help out defensively.
Leao and one...

With the loss of Jota and the elimination of Guedes, I could imagine Bernardo playing as a left winger.

Bernardo - Bruno - Otavio

I think, that Leao only works when Ronaldo doesn't play, because then too few help out defensively.
Leao and one of Silva/Ramos could come on as a substitute for Ronaldo and one of the wingers.

Bruno and Neves probably have a safe place in midfield. Next to them Vitinha, Nunes, Palhinha and Carvalho are fighting for a place.

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Philipp
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I know a lot of people on here are going to have a gripe with Joao Mario over Sanches but I really don't think J Mario will get a lot of playing time and neither would Sanches in his current form. I'm more concerned with who Santos has as the...

I know a lot of people on here are going to have a gripe with Joao Mario over Sanches but I really don't think J Mario will get a lot of playing time and neither would Sanches in his current form. I'm more concerned with who Santos has as the back up keeper. I really hope that it is Jose Sa. Antonio Silva was a great call up.

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Gee Dee
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joao mario is like a ford feista mate ,renato is a 911...

My first name on the team would be renato im devastated ....

Guedes another gem hard worker grafter left out for who felix haha silva haha bruno haha odeer

Tomas Sheehan
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So 911 needs to be fit to reach the destination (hospital) rather than have a breakdown on its way to the destination.

Neville
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Waoo what and absolute idiot we have as manager omg its going to be all about passing to ronaldo again hes a clown...

Renato is our best player and he has left him out hes an idiot a f clown...

Goncalo guedes another one left out he can...

Waoo what and absolute idiot we have as manager omg its going to be all about passing to ronaldo again hes a clown...

Renato is our best player and he has left him out hes an idiot a f clown...

Goncalo guedes another one left out he can actually take players on run n send decent crosses...

jota from celtic amazing season ?

very disappointed lads very...

hes a fool ...

bruno fernandes i wouldnt put him in my 5 aside team on a sunday...

william ah lads the man is like stiff stick ...

diego leite havign a belter season not in the squad
..

andre silva another plum...

Ah this is horrible news no renato ffs..


felix igo bigger than ronaldo ,he better come down of this clowd....

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Tomas Sheehan
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World Cup group predictions:

1. S. Korea
2. Uruguay
3. Ghana
4. Portugal

ant-santos
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4-4-2..WTF...A modern manager would be playing a 4-4-3. With Santos's 4-4-2 stupidity, the midfield is going to be overrun and all the opposing teams need to do is go back and watch the last Euro game against Germany to figure out how to...

4-4-2..WTF...A modern manager would be playing a 4-4-3. With Santos's 4-4-2 stupidity, the midfield is going to be overrun and all the opposing teams need to do is go back and watch the last Euro game against Germany to figure out how to dismantle Portugal's legacy formation. With this formation, Portugal will not beat Uruguay or South Korea. Might have a chance against Ghana if they don't get paid. On the bright side, Fernando Santos will be gone in December. No this is a reason to celebrate!

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Santos-Theory
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Its going to be all about ronnie again ...

imagine leaving sanches at home for god saik ,and not calling rafa up and saying dude ? lets go

Tomas Sheehan
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Agreed! A 4-4-3 would be vastly superior to a 4-4-2... if it were allowed.

Nelson
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