Portugal coach Fernando Santos has made wholesale changes in his first squad announcement since the disappointing World Cup campaign.

Tondela goalkeeper Cláudio Ramos, Montpellier defender Pedro Mendes, midfielders Gedson Fernandes (Benfica) and Sérgio Oliveira (FC Porto), and Monaco forward Rony Lopes are the new faces as the Seleção starts a new cycle. Captain Cristiano Ronaldo is left out of the squad while there are also noteworthy recalls for Rúben Neves, Renato Sanches, Bruma and Pizzi.

Portugal play a friendly against the beaten World Cup finalists Croatia in the Algarve on 6 September, followed by the Nations League opener against Italy in Lisbon on 10 September.

Santos explained that soon after Ronaldo had signed for Juventus the two of them spoke and decided the captain would miss the September games to aid his adaptation to his new surroundings in Italy. Other noteworthy absences are João Moutinho, Ricardo Quaresma, José Fonte, João Mário and Adrien Silva, all of whom had significant playing time in Russia.

“This is a new cycle, and we want to prepare well for the defence of our European title,” said Santos. “That’s why we chose a strong opponent in Croatia.

“As for the Nations League, as it is an official trophy, we will enter it with the intention of winning it, taking it as seriously as any other competition, just like we did at the Confederations Cup, for example.”

by Tom Kundert 

 

Full squad

Goalkeepers: Beto (Goztepe), Cláudio Ramos (Tondela), Rui Patrício (Wolves)

Defenders: Cédric Soares (Southampton), João Cancelo (Juventus), Luis Neto (Zenit), Mário Rui (Napoli), Pedro Mendes (Montpellier), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Dortmund), Rúben Dias (Benfica)

Midfielders: Bruno Fernandes (Sporting), Gedson Fernandes (Benfica), Pizzi (Benfica), Renato Sanches (Bayern), Rúben Neves (Wolves), Sérgio Oliveira (FC Porto), William Carvalho (Betis)

Forwards: André Silva (Sevilla), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruma (Leipzig), Gelson Martins (Atletico Madrid), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), Rony Lopes (Monaco)

 

Comments (12)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Happy to see Santos finally calling up some young players, a bit disappointed not seeing Quaresma even at his age he is still a game changer and also excited seeing Rony Lopes and Ruben Neves called up, hopefully they will get a chance to play.
Th...

Happy to see Santos finally calling up some young players, a bit disappointed not seeing Quaresma even at his age he is still a game changer and also excited seeing Rony Lopes and Ruben Neves called up, hopefully they will get a chance to play.
This is the Starting 11 I'm hoping to see:

Patricio
Cedric-Dias-Pepe-Guerreiro
B.Siva-Neves-B.Fernandes
R.Lopes- A.Silva- Guedes

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I understand Quaresma not being called up. If he needs him later on, I am sure Quaresma will take the call and maybe he wanted some rest and to focus on club team. Whatever the reasons, his spot will be opened up for Rony Lopes, which I think is...

I understand Quaresma not being called up. If he needs him later on, I am sure Quaresma will take the call and maybe he wanted some rest and to focus on club team. Whatever the reasons, his spot will be opened up for Rony Lopes, which I think is a good thing as he may be one of the future players we might need.

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I totally agree. Lopes will most likely be the one taking on the right wing role in the next few years. I still think Quaresma has enough gas left in the tank to make it to Euro 2020 but most likely as a super sub, I still think he should of been...

I totally agree. Lopes will most likely be the one taking on the right wing role in the next few years. I still think Quaresma has enough gas left in the tank to make it to Euro 2020 but most likely as a super sub, I still think he should of been a starter at the World Cup but that doesnt matter anymore. Once he retires we don't have anyone other than CR7 and Bernardo Silva that have such an impact on the team and a game changer. We got good young players coming in but none of them are ''Superstars'' as in Quaresma, CR7 and B.Silva. Neves is most likely to be our next big name and hopefully Renato can find the form he had at Euro 16 and not just a 1 season wonder. Happy to see Joao Mario out, the portuguese fans have been overhyping him and he has never delivered, let just hope that B.Fernandes does not disappoint.

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I completely understand the rationale behind leaving some of our more experienced names (Ronaldo, Moutinho, Quaresma, etc. at home). While the Uefa Nations League is technically considered a competitive competition, in terms of prestige, it is...

I completely understand the rationale behind leaving some of our more experienced names (Ronaldo, Moutinho, Quaresma, etc. at home). While the Uefa Nations League is technically considered a competitive competition, in terms of prestige, it is essentially a glorified friendly tournament, much like the confederations cup. Therefore, I have no problem with Fernando Santos (or any other coach of a top national team) using these games to bleed in some of our emerging young talent.

That being said, if Portugal do finish on top of their group, thereby qualifying for the final tournament this summer, I would fully expect to see a return of the old guard.

If I were Santos, I would use these games to help move the Seleccao in a new direction -- a tactical scheme that is designed to get the most out of Bernardo Silva (our most creative player) rather than Cristiano Ronaldo -- who is now much more of a finisher than an all-around wide forward. Sticking with a system that maximizes the influence of an aging Ronaldo at the expense of our hugely promising U25 players will undoubtedly hurt us in the long run.

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Fully agree in your analysis when it comes to using this tournament to implement a new tactical scheme that fits better the talent. I have my thoughts - but I‘d be interested to know what your ideas are in that respect - formation, playing style...

Fully agree in your analysis when it comes to using this tournament to implement a new tactical scheme that fits better the talent. I have my thoughts - but I‘d be interested to know what your ideas are in that respect - formation, playing style possession vs. Transition and of course the cast...

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Rolf,

I am of the opinion that if Fernando Santos is to have any chance of getting the very best of this new generation of Portuguese talent, he and his coaching staff is going to have to design a tactical scheme that best suits the players he...

Rolf,

I am of the opinion that if Fernando Santos is to have any chance of getting the very best of this new generation of Portuguese talent, he and his coaching staff is going to have to design a tactical scheme that best suits the players he has at his disposal.

The quality of coaching in Portugal -- at youth level -- is actually world-class. Sporting has traditionally led the way in domestic youth development, but Porto and Benfica have caught up in recent years. Therefore, it comes to no surprise to see just how successful Portugal's various youth national teams have been in recent years. Our current crop of 17-19 year -olds have won two youth tournaments in a row (U17 and U19) and the fact that the recent U19 title was achieved without several of that generations best talents (Joao Felix, Gedson Fernandes, Diogo Leite, Diogo Dalot, etc) makes it all the more impressive.

All of these kids, for the most part, have been carefully molded to excel in a proactive, possession-oriented 4-3-3.4-2-3-1 system. Portugal's best academies tend to develop tactically intelligent, technically gifted footballers who are comfortable on the ball and disciplined without it. That beings said, most Portuguese coaches at the senior level appear to subscribe to the Jose Mourinho-esque school of thought (Fernando Santos is obviously one of them). That is that they prefer to opt for a more pragmatic, conservative approach; one that is more concerned with strategically nullifying their opponents strengths rather than ruthlessly exploiting their weaknesses.

Now there is nothing wrong with taking a pragmatic approach to tactics, especially when your players are not quite as talented as your opponents. That being said, I believe this defense-first mentality will ultimately do more harm than good at the national team level. Yes, Santos' cautious approach to the Euros was undeniably successful, but in my opinion, his ability to instill a winning mentality was ultimately the reason we were so successful in France. Sure, his pragmatic approach was undeniably successful, but I still feel that the key to our victory was more psychological than tactical.

I will forever be grateful for what Fernando Santos has given our Seleccao, but I honestly do not believe he is the man we need to lead the post-Ronaldo era. I do not think he has what it takes to effectively coach an organized attack. He's most comfortable coaching a team that does not have the ball -- which isn't a huge problem if you can counter-attack effectively, but his insistence on sticking with central midfielders on the wings (Bernardo Silva, Joao Mario, Andre Gomes, Bruno Fernandes etc) makes it extremely difficult for us to counter effectively.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe we need to shift to a tactical scheme that maximizes the influence of Bernardo Silva, not Cristiano Ronaldo. That means ditching the narrow 4-4-2, for some variation of the 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 with Bernardo operating in a more central role. I've been watching Bernardo ever since he was 18, and I've always been of the opinion that he is at his brilliant best when utilized as a #10.

This would be more depth-chart for the next 4-year cycle of international football.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva -- potentially Rafael Leao.

Wingers: Goncalo Guedes, Gelson Martins, Rony Lopes, Bruma -- potentially Joao Filipe, Umaro Embalo ...

Attacking Midfielders: Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Pizzi -- potentially Joao Felix, Domingos Quina ...

Central Midfielders: Joao Moutinho, Adrien Silva, Joao Mario, Sergio Oliveira, Renato Sanches, Gedson Fernandes ...

Defensive Midfielders: William Carvalho, Danilo, Ruben Neves, Joao Palhinha -- potentially Florentino Luis

Fullbacks: Cedric, Nelson Semedo, Ricardo, Joao Cancelo, Guerreiro, Mario Rui -- potentially Dalot, Vinagre ...

Center-backs: Pepe, Ruben Dias, Luis Neto, Pedro Mendes, Paulo Oliveira --- potentially Diogo Leite, Ferro ....

Goalkeepers: Patricio, Lopes, Beto, Claudio Ramos

I'd personally go with the following 11 against quality opposition:

--------------------------------------------Ronaldo-------------------------------------------------------------
Rony--------------------------------------------Bernardo-----------------------------------Guedes
-------------------------------------William------------------Neves-------------------------------------------
Guerreiro----------------Dias---------------------------Pepe-----------------------------Semedo
----------------------------------------------Patricio--------------------------------------------------------------

Some of these guys have yet to truly prove their worth in the red of the Seleccao, but in terms of sheer potential, this is our strongest starting 11.

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Jon, that was an interesting read and I couldn't agree more. The 4231 is what I as well see as the most appropriate formation to let the available talent shine as much as possible. I also agree with your line up. Ok, maybe I'd prefer Ricardo...

Jon, that was an interesting read and I couldn't agree more. The 4231 is what I as well see as the most appropriate formation to let the available talent shine as much as possible. I also agree with your line up. Ok, maybe I'd prefer Ricardo Pereira over Semedo, but that's not crucial. Ruben Neves alongside William definitely offers a lot: Rock solid stability and versatiliy in defensive/central midfield. Both have an excquisite passing range and in combination with the fast wingers, this is lethal. Depending on form and opposition, one of the two DM can be replaced by Renato Sanches (given he'll come back). You can play this formation with a real double-6 or with a 6+8. On the flanks, Ronny Lopes and Guedes can change positions during the match to switch in attacking between crossing and cutting in. Bernardo Silva has to orchestrate the offensive furor in the middle of the offensive inferno, because no other player has such close control and imagination as he has. The difficult part in this formation is the forward: He has to adapt and play a REAL No.9. Many people say, Ronaldo is not at his best in that position - including himself. I know that it is extremely unpopular to say it on portugoal.net, but what to do when CR7 doesn't want to play that role? replacing him with André Silva or changing the system back to the (not really ideal anymore) 442? Also there I have my opinion.

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Favourite Portugal team in a while (not forgetting Ronaldo obviously..) Would love to see a 4-3-1-2 (Formation which we won the Euro with) and experiment with this line up:

Patricio
Cedric Pepe Dias Guerreiro
Sanches ...

Favourite Portugal team in a while (not forgetting Ronaldo obviously..) Would love to see a 4-3-1-2 (Formation which we won the Euro with) and experiment with this line up:

Patricio
Cedric Pepe Dias Guerreiro
Sanches Carvalho Gedson
B. Silva
CR7 Andre Silva

Dynamic players in the midfield is something we lacked in the World Cup, which is why an in form Sanches with Gedson in the midfield would be interesting. - They remind me so much of each other! Bernardo centrally I think we can all agree is where he belongs (look at his performance against Uruguay after he moved in the middle and his performances for City so far this season). Back 4 I think this is our strongest possible back line defensively (Dias has much to learn from Pepe). But yeah, I'm hopeful that Santos will mix it up! Forca!!!!

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Always excited to watch when Portugal's young stars get a chance to shine. Santos has proven himself in that regard. Now the question is: Does he have the capability to play these guys in their proper positions? And is he even wired...

Always excited to watch when Portugal's young stars get a chance to shine. Santos has proven himself in that regard. Now the question is: Does he have the capability to play these guys in their proper positions? And is he even wired psychologically to the point that he won't be afraid to utilize the clear advantage Portugal has in this group of players which so heavily leans on the side of attack?

I wouldn't bet on it.

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quaresma has been my favourite player for years i was gutted ge didnt go to the world cup or euros a few yrs back...

but hes 34 he needs to retire lads same with alves and a few others...

happy pepe is sticking a
round ...

and happy with the...

quaresma has been my favourite player for years i was gutted ge didnt go to the world cup or euros a few yrs back...

but hes 34 he needs to retire lads same with alves and a few others...

happy pepe is sticking a
round ...

and happy with the squad i like Carrico also as n option and oliveira semedo etc for the defence...

id love thr team to be built around b silva he was class uruguay game...

makes me sick to think if we beat iran or spain lost to Morocco im confident we would have had a france portugal final...

but moving on...

forca portugal

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Sanches? Really? Is he even playing to deserve a call up?

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call ups don't mean play time, they also include team training, maybe he is looking to further develop him

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