Portugal finished the year in 8th spot in the FIFA rankings, headed by Brazil:
10. Czech Republic
President of the Liga de Clubes, Hermínio Loureiro, has revealed that discussions are ongoing between the Liga and the Portuguese Football Federation with a view to clubs being compensated for ceding players to the national team.
FC Porto's star Brazilian central defender Pepe wants to play for Portugal. Pepe, who has lived in Portugal for several years and is to apply for Portuguese nationality, met with national coach Luís Felipe Scolari this week to express his interest.
Twenty of the 31 games at the Euro 2008 Championship will be shown in Portugal on TVI, the free commercial TV channel. All 31 games will also be shown on cable channel SportTV.
Portugal will be up against Holland, Israel and Belgium in Group A of the U-21 European Championship, to be held in Holland next summer. In Group B are England, the Czech Republic, Italy and Serbia.
Dates for Group A are as follows:
Holland v Israel (Heerenveen)
Portugal v Belgium (Groningen)
Holland v Portugal (Groningen)
Israel v Bélgica (Heerenveen)
Belgium v Holland (Heerenveen)
Israel v Portugal (Groningen)
Portugal comfortably beat a fragile Kazakhstan 3-0 on Wednesday at a rainy Estádio Municipal de Coimbra, in the centre of Portugal. The visitors put up little resistance and were two down within half an hour: on nine minutes, Simão cracked a shot high into the top right hand corner of the net from an angle on the right, and on 30 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo went on a trademark run down the left, cutting inside and sending a swinging shot past Loria's right hand from outside the box. Simão got a second five minutes from time, hooking in a loose ball from close range after a Carlos Martins corner.
The win was welcome after the defeat in Poland in the last match, but might usefully have been by a greater margin, especially if goals eventually matter in the standings: Finland top Group A on 11 points, followed by Serbia and Poland on then, and Portugal and Belgium on seven. Serbia and Portugal have a game in hand on those around them.
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Tonel (Jorge Andrade 75), Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Tiago, Raul Meireles, Simão, Deco (Carlos Martins 62) Cristiano Ronaldo (Ricardo Quaresma 56), Nuno Gomes.
Kazakhstan: Loria, Kuchma, Zhalmagambelov, Y. Azevskiy, Travin; Smakov, Sergienko (Larin 72), Baltiev, Khokhlov; Zhumaskaliyev, Byakov.
Cristiano Ronaldo may miss the Euro 2008 qualifier against Kazakhstan after injuring his left leg in Manchester United's game against Blackburn on Saturday.
National team coach Luíz Felipe Scolari has announced his squad to play Kazakhstan next Wednesday in a EURO 2008 qualifier. Daniel Fernandes, Tonel, Nélson and Raúl Meireles make their débuts, while Jorge Andrade returns after being out for over eight months with a serious knee injury; he has played just half a game for his club after returning. There is no place for Atlético Madrid midfielders Maniche and Costinha or Everton defender Nuno Valente. Scolari suggested during the press conference to announce the squad that he is grooming Cristiano Ronaldo to be the future captain of the Selecção.
Goalkeepers: Ricardo (Sporting), Quim (Benfica), Daniel Fernandes (PAOK Salonika);
Defenders: Tonel (Sporting), Jorge Andrade (Deportivo la Coruña), Nélson (Benfica), Miguel (Valência), Manuel da Costa (PSV), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea);
Midfielders: Deco (Barcelona), Carlos Martins (Sporting), João Moutinho (Sporting), Raul Meireles (FC Porto), Tiago (Lyon), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Quaresma (FC Porto), Simão (Benfica);
Forwards: Hélder Postiga (FC Porto), Nuno Gomes (Benfica).
Scolari has called up 52 players since he became national team coach at the beginning of 2003. He will complete 55 games in charge on Wednesday
Ricardo, Quim, Bruno Vale (2003), Moreira (2004), Paulo Santos (2005), Daniel Fernandes (2006)
Miguel, Paulo Ferreira, Caneira, Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Rocha, Ricardo Carvalho, Fernando Meira, Fernando Couto, Nuno Valente, Rui Jorge, Beto, Rogério Matias (2003), Jorge Ribeiro (2004), Ricardo Costa e Alex (2005), José António, Manuel da Costa, Nelson, Tonel (2006)
Sérgio Conceição, Hugo Viana, Rui Costa, Tiago, Pedro Mendes, Silas, Luís Loureiro, Costinha, Maniche, Deco, Frechaut (2003), Petit (2004), Manuel Fernandes, João Alves, João Moutinho (2005), Raul Meireles, Carlos Martins (2006)
10 wingers and forwards:
Ricardo Quaresma, Cristiano Ronaldo, Figo, Simão, Pauleta, Boa Morte, Hélder Postiga e Nuno Gomes (2003), Hugo Almeida (2004), Nani (2006).
U-21 coach José Couceiro has announced his squad to play Serbia in a friendly on Tuesday in Figueira da Foz. Defender Nuno André of Belgian club Standard Liège makes his début. Entrance to the game will be completely free.
Goalkeepers: Paulo Ribeiro (F.C. Porto), Ricardo Baptista (Fulham)
Defenders: Amoreirinha (Est. Amadora), João Pereira (Gil Vicente), José Gonçalves (Hearts), Nuno André (Standard Liège), Miguel Veloso (Sporting)
Midfielders: Hélder Barbosa (Académica), Ruben Amorim (Belenenses), Filipe Oliveira (Marítimo), Vieirinha (FC Porto), Diogo Valente (F.C. Porto), Organista (Pontevedra), Manuel Fernandes (Portsmouth), Paulo Machado (U. Leiria)
Forwards: Vaz Té (Bolton), Nani (Sporting), Yannick (Sporting), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Ivanildo (U. Leiria).
Sagres, along with rival Super Bock Portugal's best selling beer, has renewed its contract as official sponsor to the Selecção Nacional and the U-21s until at least 2010. Sagres has been official sponsor to the two most important National sides since 1993.
After a good display and victory over an admittedly weaker Azerbaijan at the weekend, Portugal went down 1-2 in Poland. Scolari said that he wanted four points from the two games; he will have to be satisfied with just the three.
Portugal were two goals down within twenty minutes, both through Smolarek and both deriving from defensive mistakes. Poland hit the post before the break, and it needed a stern talking to from Scolari to drag Portugal back into the game. They were more aggressive in the second half, but their hearts were often ruling their heads. As they pushed forward, they left gaps at the back, and Poland could have extended their lead on various occasions. It took Portugal's best move of the game to pull one back, Simão getting free on the right and turning the ball back for Benfica teammate Nuno Gomes to sweep in from close range. But that was in added time, and there was just not enough time to do any better.
The teams lined up:
Poland: Wojciech Kowalewski, Pawel Golanski, Jacek Bak, Arkadiusz Radomski, Grzegorz Bronowicki, Jakub Blaszczykowski (Jacek Krzynowek 66), Mariusz Lewandowski, Euzebiusz Smolarek, Radoslaw Sobolewski, Grzegorz Rasiak (Radoslaw Matusiak 74), Maciej Zurawski.
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho, Ricardo Rocha, Nuno Valente, Costinha (Tiago 46), Petit (Nani 68), Deco (Maniche 83), Cristiano Ronaldo, Simão, Nuno Gomes.
In the other Group A games on the night, Kazakhstan lost 0-2 to Finland, Serbia beat Armenia 3-0, and Belgium beat Azerbaijan 3-0. Portugal are six points adrift of Serbia at the top but have a game in hand.
1. Serbia, 10 points
2. Finland, 8
3. Belgium, 7
4. Poland, 7
5. Portugal, 4
6. Kazakhstan, 2
7. Azerbaijan, 1
8. Armenia, 1
Portugal's U-21s performed a minor miracle Tuesday to qualify for next summer's European Championship. Trailing 1-4 from the fist leg of their play-off against Russia, Portugal managed to get exactly the 3-0 result that was needed to turn the tie around. Russia came to Gaia clearly with defence at the top of their agenda, reflected in the 60:40 possession ratio in favour of Portugal. But the strategy began to fall apart on 32 minutes, captain João Moutinho scoring from the spot after the ball had been handled in the area. As in the first leg, one of the sides was reduced to ten men before the break, this time Russia, with Kolesnikov going for a rash challenge on Djaló. Two substitutions in the second half proved vital for Portugal's hopes: João Mereira crossed for Djaló to head home on 65 minutes, and Hélder Barbosa headed across the goal for Taranov to slice into his own goal on 73. Russia tried desperately to overturn the result - and one goal would have swung the tie their way - but they had made their bed from the start, and now they were forced to lie in it.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Paulo Ribeiro, Filipe Oliveira, Amoreirinha, Manuel da Cost (Hélder Barbosa 46), Miguel Veloso, Organista, João Moutinho, Varela (João Moreira 57), Diogo Valente (Ruben Amorim 70), Yannick Djaló, Vaz Té.
Rússia: Khomic, Nababkin, Taranov, Cherenchikov, Shishkin, Rebko (Vorobyev 76), Eschenko, Kolesnikov, Denisov, Pavlenko (Dantsev 58), Savin (Torbinskiy 23).
Portugal join Serbia, England, Czech Republic and Italy in the finals, to be held in Holland in June. The final two places will be decided Wednesday in the games between Belgium and Bulgaria, and France and Israel.
A brilliant display from Cristiano Ronaldo was at the root of Portugal's ultimately comfortable 3-0 win over a weak Azerbaijan at a far-from-full Bessa stadium in Porto Saturday. The Manchester United star got two goals, scored another that was wrongly disallowed and made the other.
Portugal started a little timidly, their first real chance coming on 20 minutes, Nuno Gomes heading weakly from a Miguel cross. They were lucky on 22 when Nuno Valente saw only a yellow card after he clearly elbowed an opponent in a challenge, but just two minutes later they took the lead, Deco working the ball across the face of the area and squaring it left to an unmarked Cristiano Ronaldo, whose crisp shot went through the legs of Veliyev as he spread himself to block. A minute later, the same Cristiano Ronaldo scored a spectacular 'goal', an overhead kick that hit the bar and bounced down well beyond the goal line but then span out, fooling the referee and linesman, and no goal was given. ("I'm sad, because it would have been one of the most beautiful goals of my career" - he said)
But five minutes later, it was in fact two, and the Manchester United forward was once again involved, swervng in a free-kick that Veliyev could only parry, with central defender Ricardo Carvalho the first to get to it to poke home.
At the start of the second half, Portugal sat back a little and let Azerbaijan cause some problems, which may have led to some panic had they scored to reduce the lead. But the game was effectively killed off on 62 minutes, Simão taking the ball to the line on the right and crossing deep for Cristiano Ronaldo to dive and head home. It was confirmation of Portugal's superiority on the night, although Ricardo was tested on 90 minutes with a shot from Javadov, his first real save of the game.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho, Ricardo Rocha, Nuno Valente (Caneira 45), Maniche (Tiago 64), Costinha, Deco; Cristiano Ronaldo (Nani 73), Nuno Gomes, Simão.
Azerbaijan: Veliyev, Kerimov, Sokolov, Ernani Pereira, Hashimov, André Ladaga, Sultanov (Ismaylov 64), Chertoganov, Muzika (Gurbanov 65), Leandro Gomes (Javadov 75), Immaliev.
With these three points from the four that Scolari has demanded of these two games (Portugal meet Poland for their next qualifier, which will surely be more of a challenge) Portugal lie third in the group, behind Serbia on seven and Finland on five - on the same four points are Belgium and Poland - but Portugal have a game in hand on all around them.
Portugal's U-21s did not have such good luck Friday in their play-off for Euro 2007 at that level, losing 1-4 to Russia in Moscow. Denisov put the home team in front on just five minutes, with Paulo Machado equalising on 12. João Pereira.was sent off just before the break for a second yellow that was less clear-cut than his first on just 30 seconds. A ten-men Portugal went behind two minutes into the second half through Nababkin, Savin extended their lead on 64, and what must surely be a nail in Portugal's coffin was banged in in added time from the spot by Denisov, although Filipe Oliveira appeared to have made a clean tackle that was interpreted as a foul..Portugal have an uphill struggle in Gaia in the week.
The teams lined up:
Russia: Khomic, Nababkin, Taranov, Cherenchikov, Shishkin, Rebko, Eschenko, Torbinsky (Borobyev 79), Denisov, Pavlenko (Dantsev 89), Savin (Salugin 87)
Portugal: Paulo Ribeiro, João Pereira, Amoreirinha, Rolando, Miguel Veloso, Sérgio Organista, Paulo Machado (Varela 85), João Moutinho, Ruben Amorim, Vaz Té, João Moreira (Filipe Oliveira 55).
Defender Fernando Meira (Stuttgart) and striker Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen) have been released from international duty through injury. They will miss the upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Poland. The two players will not be replaced in the squad, which trained Wednesday and Thursday at the National Stadium on the outskirts of Lisbon.
Luís Felipe Scolari has chosen his squad to play in the upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Poland. Manuel da Costa of PSV and José António of Borussia Moenchengladbach make their débuts in the squad, while Maniche and Miguel return. The most striking absence is that of FC Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma.
Goalkeepers: Quim (Benfica), Ricardo (Sporting)
Defenders: Fernando Meira (Stuttgart), José António (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Miguel (Valência), Manuel da Costa (PSV Eindhoven), Caneira (Sporting), Nuno Valente (Everton), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Ricardo Rocha (Benfica).
Midfielders: Deco (Barcelona), Petit (Benfica), Costinha (Atlético Madrid), Maniche (Atlético Madrid), Tiago (Lyon), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Forwards: Hélder Postiga (F.C. Porto), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Nani (Sporting), Nuno Gomes (Benfica), Simão (Benfica).
José Couceiro has named the U-21 squad for the upcoming Euro 2007 play-off with Russia (Moscow 06/10, Vila Nova da Gaia, 10/10). Moutinho and Manuel Fernandes return.
Goalkeepers: Paulo Ribeiro (F.C. Porto), Ricardo Baptista (Fulham)
Defenders: Amoreirinha (Estrela da Amadora), João Pereira (Gil Vicente), Semedo (Cagliari), Manuel da Costa (PSV Eindhoven, 2nd game only), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Rolando (Belenenses), Antunes (Paços de Ferreira)
Midfielders: Filipe Oliveira (Marítimo), João Moutinho (Sporting), Julien (Vitória de Setúbal), Manuel Fernandes (Portsmouth), Paulo Machado (União de Leiria), Ruben Amorim (Belenenses), Sérgio Organista (Pontevedra)
Forwards: Hélder Barbosa (Académica), Ivanildo (União de Leiria), João Moreira (Valência), Ricardo Vaz Tê (Bolton), Varela (Vitória de Setúbal), Yannick Djaló (Sporting).
The Football Federation is to set up a data base with psychological profiles of young players who may one day be incorporated into the full national squad, following a meeting Friday between national coach Luís Filipe Scolari and the coaches of the U-20s and U-21s. "Any coach has to know his players scientifically, physically, psychologically and from a sporting perspective. Psychology in sport in a very important tool," Scolari said.
Portugal have dropped to ninth in the FIFA rankings, behind Brazil, France, Argentina, England, Italy, Holland, Czech Republic and Germany
Portugal scrounged a draw from their first Euro 2008 qualifier in Helsinki. Johansson put Finland in front on 21 minutes, but Nuno Gomes finished off good work by Deco on 41 to give Portugal a point. The Selecção's task was made harder by the sending-off of Ricardo Costa on 53 minutes.
The teams lined up:
Finland: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Petri Pasanen, Hannu Tihinen, Sammi Hyypia, Toni Kallio, Markus Heikkinen, Mika Vayrynen, Teemu Tainio, Joonas Kolkka (Alexei Eremenko Jr. 82), Jari Litmanen, Jonatan Johansson (Shefki Kuqi 65).
Portugal: Ricardo, Caneira, Ricardo Costa, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Petit, Deco (Tiago 86), Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani (Ricardo Rocha 57), Nuno Gomes (João Moutinho 76).
Portugal crashed to a heavy 2-4 defeat to Denmark in Brondby, in a friendly meant to prepare the Selecção for the upcoming Euro 2008 qualifier against Finland. Tomasson put Denmark in front on 13 minutes, Ricardo Carvalho equalised four minutes later, but Kahlenberg put Denmark back in front four minutes after that. Sporting's Nani, making his senior début, scored directly from a corner on 65, but Jorgensen on 77 and Bendtner in added time made the result seem heavier perhaps than the relative merits of the two sides.
Portugal lined up:
Ricardo; Paulo Ferreira (Nuno Valente 77), Ricardo Carvalho (Ricardo Rocha 70), Ricardo Costa e Caneira; Costinha, Tiago (Carlos Martins 45), João Moutinho (Petit 45), Nani (Hugo Almeida 65), Cristiano Ronaldo (Boa Morte 65), Nuno Gomes
Luíz Felipe Scolari has chosen his squad for the to upcoming Portugal games: against Denmark in a friendly on 1 September and against Finland on 6 September in the first Euro 2008 qualifying game.
There are several changes from the squad that did so well in Germany: Figo and Pauleta have hung up their international boots, Miguel is injured, and Hugo Viana, Maniche and Paulo Santos are left out. In come defender Ricardo Rocha (Benfica), midfielders Carlos Martins (making his début) and João Moutinho (both of Sporting) and Quaresma (FC Porto) and striker Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)
Goalkeepers: Quim (Benfica), Ricardo (Sporting).
Defenders: Caneira (Sporting), Nuno Valente (Everton), Ricardo Costa (FC Porto), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Fernando Meira (Estugarda) Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Ricardo Rocha (Benfica).
Midfielders: Petit (Benfica), Deco (Barcelona), Carlos Martins (Sporting), Costinha (Atlético Madrid), João Moutinho (Sporting), Tiago (Lyon), Simão (Benfica), Quaresma (FC Porto), Luis Boa Morte (Fulham).
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Nuno Gomes (Benfica), Hélder Postiga (FC Porto).
Meanwhile, new U-21 coach José Couceiro has named his squad to play in the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Lithuania and Poland:
Ricardo Batista, Manuel da Costa, Miguel Veloso, Ruben Fernandes, Paulo Machado, Vieirinha, Julien, João Moreira and Yannick all make their débuts in the Squad:
Bolton: Vaz Té
Estrela da Amadora: Amoreirinha
Belenenses: Amorim, Rolando
Marítimo: Filipe Oliveira
FC Porto: Paulo Ribeiro, Vieirinha
Fulham: Ricardo Batista
Gil Vicente: João Pereira
Portimonense: Ruben Fernandes
PSV Eindhoven: Manuel da Costa
Sporting: Miguel Veloso, Nani, Yannick
União de Leiria: Ivanildo, Paulo Machado
Valencia: João Moreira
Vitória de Setúbal: Julien, Varela
New U-21 coach José Couceiro has called up 26 players for the upcoming training camp – from Sunday to Wednesday – to prepare for the European Championship qualifiers against Lithania and Poand at the beginning of September. The training camp will end with a friendly against Estrela da Amadora.
Goalkeepers: Christopher (Marítimo), Paulo Ribeiro (FC Porto), Ricardo Baptista (Fulham), Mário Felgueiras (Sporting Espinho).
Defenders: Vítor Vinha (Académica), Amoreirinha (Estrela da Amadora), Rolando (Belenenses), Pedro Araújo (Penafiel), João Pereira (Gil Vicente), Ruben Fernandes (Portimonense), Manuel da Costa (PSV Eindhoven), Miguel Veloso (Sporting).
Midfielders: Ruben Amorim (Belenenses), Sérgio Organista (Ponte Vedra), João Coimbra (Benfica), João Moutinho and Nani (Sporting), Paulo Machado (União de Leiria), Julien (Vitória de Setúbal).
Forwards: Ricardo Vaz Tê (Bolton), Filipe Oliveira (Marítimo), Diogo Valente (FC Porto), Yannick (Sporting), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Ivanildo (União de Leiria), João Moreira (Valência).
Luíz Felipe Scolari has admitted to the Brazilian press that he was offered the job of coach of the Brazilian National Team, after Carlos Alberto Parreira stood down, but that after speaking to his family he decided to stick with the Portugal job. He also admitted that he already has offers for 2008 (but not the Brazil job).
José Couceiro is the new coach of Portugal's U-21s, taking over from Agostinho Oliveira on a two-year contract. Couceiro's immediate job will be to qualify Portugal for the European Championship, to be held in Holland in 2007; they will meet Lithuania and Poland at the beginning of September. In recent seasons, Couceiro has failed to make an impact at FC Porto and Belenenses after previous good work at Alverca.
Luíz Felipe Scolari has renewed his contract with the FPF for a further two years, taking him to the European Championship of 2008, to be held in Switzerland and Austria. To get there, Scolari will have to guide the Selecção past Belgium, Finland, Poland, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Kazakhstan during the qualifying round.
The Portuguese Football Federation, supported by the Players' Union, wants the 50,000-euro win bonus due each of the players of the Selecção to be tax free. The claim is based on an article in the Income Tax Code that theoretically allows tax exemptions for individuals and teams that perform well in important sports competitions.
National team coach Luíz Felipe Scolari has taken his cousin, Paulo Fernando Scolari, to court in Brazil over the use of the name 'Scolari' for commercial purposes.
FPF president Gilberto Madaíl told TSF Radio Saturday that negotiations are well under way to keep Luíz Felipe Scolari as national team coach at least until the 2008 European Championship, on the condition that Portugal reach at least the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
The Selecção will play a friendly against Denmark on 1 September, ahead of their first game in the qualifying stage for Euro 2008 against Finland on 6 September. Group A includes Portugal, Finland, Poland, Serbia-Montenegro, Azerbiajan, Armenia and Kazakhstan.
Portugal came third in the U-20 Toulon Torunament, beating China 1-0 with a João Moreira goal on 67 minutes.
Portugal's U-21s won their second practice game in Melgaço (nothern Portugal) 1-0 over Atlético de Veldevez, recently relegated to the III Divisão (fourth division), with a goal by João Moutinho.
Coach Agostinho Oliveira has his U-21 squad gathered in the northern town of Melgaço ahead of the European Championship, which kicks off at the end of this month. Some of the players currently under his orders may be transferred to the Senior squad for the World Cup, but Selecção coach Luíz Felipe Scolari will only let Oliveira know which players he needs on 12 May.
Portugal is interested in staging the U-21 European Championship again in 2009.
Portugal will play Denmark in a friendly on 1 September, venue to be announced.
FPF president Gilberto Madaíl has said that it is quite possible that Luíz Felipe Scolari will renew his contract as coach of Portugal. Madaíl denied that the renewal was a done deal, but said that it may happen during the World Cup.
Benfica full back Nélson will not take part in the U-21 European Championship, to be held in Portugal at the end of May; the player will undergo an operation for a groin problem. Also out is José Gonçalves of Hearts, also through injury.
After several days of negotiations with the English FA with a view to taking over the England Manager's job, Luíz Felipe Scolari surprisingly drew a line under the matter Friday. Speaking from Marienfeld in Germany, there for the inauguration of the training camp wing of Portugal's hotel for the World Cup, Scolari said that the reason for his backing out of what seemed like a done deal was the excessive media pressure surrounding the process. Scolari had reportedly been offered £3 million a year to take over from Sven-Goran Eriksson after the World Cup, when both managers' contracts expire. The English FA had gone as far as to send a contingent to Lisbon to offer the Brazilian the job. "I'm happy that they thought of me for the job, but at this moment I want to put an end to this matter. I won't be the England manager - the FA is going to choose another man, and my name won't be amongst the possibilities", he said. He may now be offered an extension to his Portugal contract.
Scolari's decision and determination echo what happened during Euro 2004, when his name was linked to the Benfica job and he went in front of the cameras to announce his firm withdrawal from the selection process.
FPF president Gilberto Madaíl has told the BBC that National Team coach Luíz Felipe Scolari, on the short list to take over from Sven Goran Eriksson in charge of England, has a gentleman's agreement with the Federation, and he believes that the Brazilian will honour it and only think of Portugal until the end of the World Cup.
In an interview with the BBC, Portugal coach Luíz Felipe Scolari denied that he has had a second interview with the English FA with a view taking over from Sven Goran Eriksson after the World Cup. "I haven't had any interview. I'm Portugal's coach I'm only thinking and speaking about Portugal until the end of the World Cup," he said.
Luíz Felipe Scolari, currently coach of the Selecção, is back in the running for the England job, according to the English press (Independent), although Middlesborough's Steve McClaren appears to be the favourite. The Brazilian's contract with Portugal ends after this summer's World Cup.
U-21 coach Agostinho Oliveira will announce his squad for the upcoming European Championship on 13 May. The tournament will take place in the north of Portugal between 23 May and 4 June. The official UEFA site has an interviewwith the Tournament Director João Morais.
Tickets for the U-21 European Championship, to be held in the north of Portugal in the summer, went on sale Wednesday. The first points of sale, until 21 April, are the roughly 1,000 post offices up and down the country; prices are between 3 and fifteen euros. The tournament opens on 23 May with Portugal versus France.
Portugal remain in 10th place in the FIFA rankings, published Wednesday. Brazil are top. The top ten are:
2. Czech Republic
5. United States
Déportivo de la Coruña centre back Jorge Andrade, habitually first choice in the Selecção alongside Chelsea's Ricardo Carvalho, suffered a serious injury to his knee during his team's 2-3 defeat at Barcelona Saturday. He was operated on succesfully Sunday in Barcelona, but the recovery time of 5-6 months effectively puts him out of the running for the World Cup Finals.
Portugal put in a decent first half performance that slipped to sloppy in the second, but it was enough to see off a poor Saudi Arabia side 3-0 in Düsseldorf Wednesday. Fielding what most believe to be the 'first' team from the off, Portugal had most possession and almost all of the chances, but it wasn't until the half-hour mark that they had something to show for it, man of the match Cristiano Ronaldo rising unchecked on the edge of the six-yeard box to head crisply in from a Figo corner. The game was all but over a minute from half-time, Miguel crossing, Ronaldo volleying at the back post and Maniche banging in after Deayea had parried Ronaldo's shot.
Wholesale changes at half time affected Portugal's production; this was markedly the second string. Saudi Arabia even had a couple of chances to score, but their finishing was as clumsy as their general play. Five minutes from time, finally a move of quality: on the break, sub Hugo Viana put an inch-perfect ball through to Cristiano Ronaldo on the left and the Manchester United forward took the ball on a couple of paces then hit a low cross shot with his left foot that found the far corner of the net.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel (Paulo Ferreira 73 m), Fernando Meira, Jorge Andrade, Nuno Valente (Marco Caneira 63 m), Maniche (Petit, 46 m), Costinha, Deco (Hugo Viana 46 m), Luís Figo (Ricardo Quaresma 46 m), Pauleta (Hélder Postiga 46 m), Cristiano Ronaldo.
Saudi Arabia: Deayea, Takar, Montashiry, Haidar (Al Qahtani 60 m), Kathran, Khariri (Abdullatif 67 m), Al Mowallad, Al Shlhoub (Al Temyat 62 m), Aziz, Aljaber (Al Suwailh 73 m), Noor (Alharthi 86 m).
This was the final preparation game before Scolari chooses his squad in May, and was seen as a final test for young players like Hugo Viana of Valência and FC Porto's Ricardo Quaresma. While Viana's contribution could be summed up as the pass for the third goal, Quaresma's most significant contribution was to receive a yellow card for a reckless foul in midfield. It would be unfair to judge them on 45 minutes of play (they both came on at half time) and on a badly cut-up pitch, but if Scolari did indeed mean this as a final test for them, then they must both be deemed to have failed.
Quaresma said: "It was difficult to play on this pitch, but I did my best. Going or not to the World Cup is not my decision. I know that I can do better, and my objective is to be in Germany. The coach congratulated me, as he did the whole team." Hugo Viana had a similar discourse: "I wasn't at my best because of the state of the pitch, but i worked for the team and I had some good moments."
Scolari said: "Tonight we gave a chance to all the players except Quim [the substitute goalkeeper] ... I took advantage of this game to observe and I'm going to make my final decision about the squad not only based on this game but also on a series of situations involving all of these players." He confirmed that only three places are likely to be up for grabs: a goalkeeper, a creative midfielder and a winger: "In theory, these are the positions for which I'm looking for alternatives in all the games. At this moment we probably have 90% of the squad decided."
The choice of Germany for the game was a (failed?) marketing exercise. The ground (the home of Fortuna Düsseldorf) was far from full (there was Italy v Germany on TV and the tickets were expensive for Portuguese emigrant pockets), but the majority of the crowd were indeed Portuguese, and most of them appeared to be young girls, if the screams whenever Cristiano Ronaldo got the ball were anything to go by.
Portugal's U-21s lost to reigning European Champions Italy Tuesday in the last preparation game before the upcoming European Championship, to be held in Portugal. Portugal had most of the possession in the game, but the truth is that the Italians were never really troubled, and into added time at the end of the game, Palladino turned in the area and neatly chipped over the head of Portugal 'keeper Bruno Vale, who had only been on as sub for three minutes.
Portugal lined up:
Daniel Fernandes (Bruno Vale 88m), Nélson, José Fonte, Semedo, José Gonçalves, Manuel Fernandes (Diogo Valente h-t), Custódio (Bruno Amaro 57m), Raúl Meireles (Nuno Morais 57m), Filipe Oliveira (Ivanildoh-t), Hugo Almeida, Ricardo Vaz Tê (Varela h-t).
Tiago of Lyon and Ricardo Carvalho of Chelsea have both been released from international duty through injury, ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Saudi Arabia in Düsseldorf. Into the squad as replacements come Paulo Ferreira of Chelsea and Hugo Viana of Valência.
National coach Luíz Felipe Scolari has given an interview to the official UEFA website.
Agostinho Oliveira, coach of the U-21 team, has named his squad for the upcoming friendly against Italy. There is a first call-up for Benfica's Cape-Verdean full back Nélson , recently naturalised Portuguese.
Boavista: Diogo Valente;
Bolton Wanderers: Ricardo Té;
Estrela da Amadora: Bruno Vale;
Marítimo: Filipe Oliveira, Nuno Morais;
Barreirense: Miguel Ângelo;
Paços de Ferreira: José Fonte;
FC Porto: Hugo Almeida, Ivanildo, Raul Meireles;
Hearts: José Gonçalves;
PAOK Salónica: Daniel Fernandes;
Benfica: Manuel Fernandes, Nélson;
Sporting: Custódio, João Moutinho, Nani;
Valência: Hugo Viana;
Vitória de Setúbal: Varela.
Midfielder Costinha, a mainstay of recent Portugal sides and also of the European Champions FC Porto, is in dispute with his latest club Dynamo Moscow, apparently due to differences of opinion with the coach. He missed the transfer window to move from Moscow, but national coach Luíz Filipe Scolari has said that as long as he is physically fit, he will be part of the squad.
Portugal's strip for the World Cup was officially presented Monday. The first strip, modelled by Critiano Ronaldo, is all red, a break from the traditional red shirts and green shorts that reflected the colours of the national flag, although there is some green trim. The change strip is all black, modelled by Marco Caneira. the goalkeeper's strip is all grey, modelled by Ricardo. The strips are once again designed by Nike.
The draw took place Wednesday in the Serralves Museum in Porto for the U-21 European Championship, to be held in the north of Portugal in the summer. Portugal's opening game will be on 23 May against France in Group A. Holders Italy are in group B. The groups are:
3 Serbia and Montenegro
Dates and venues of games are as follows:
23 May, Tuesday:
Serbia and Montenegro v Germany, Estádio Cidade de Barcelos (Gil Vicente)
Portugal v France, Estádio Municipal de Braga (Sporting Braga)
25 May, Thursday:
France v Germany, Estádio D. Afonso Henriques (Vitória de Guimarães)
Portugal v Serbia and Montenegro, Estádio Cidade de Barcelos
28 May, Sunday:
Germany v Portugal , Estádio D. Afonso Henriques
France v Serbia and Montenegro, Estádio Municipal de Braga
24 May, Wednesday:
Ukraine v Holland, Estádio Municipal de Águeda
Italy v Denmark, Estádio Municipal de Aveiro (Beira-Mar)
26 May, Friday:
Denmark v Holland, Estádio Municipal de Aveiro
Italy v Ukraine, Estádio Municipal de Águeda
29 May, Monday:
Holland v Italy, Estádio Municipal de Aveiro
Denmark v Ukraine, Estádio Municipal de Águeda
01 June, Thursday:
Winner A v Second B, Estádio Municipal de Braga
Winner B v Second A, Estádio Municipal de Aveiro
04 June, Sunday, Estádio do Bessa (Porto - Boavista)
Former National Team coach Carlos Queiróz, now assitant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, responded Monday to Luíz Felipe Scolari's openly expressed interest in the England job. Speaking to radio station TSF he said: "It seems to me that it's in really bad taste and completely inappropriate to be putting these places on a supply and demand basis, which dignifies neither the national teams, nor the coaches, nor the directors. Especially since the National team is a couple of months away from a tournment as important as the World Cup ... National teams, whichever they are, need to be determined, concentrated and focussed on the responsibility of representing their country."
Luíz Felipe Scolari has intimated, in a BBC Radio interview, that he is up for the England coaching job, soon to be vacated by Seven Goran Eriksson. Scolari's contract with the Portuguese national team ends after next summer's World Cup.
The draw took place in Montreux Friday for the Euro 2008 qualifying groups, in which the seeded Portugal were dealt a relatively fortunate hand. (see draw)
At the same time, the U-21s learned who their opponents will be in the qualification phase of the 2007 European Championship: Poland and Latvia. The qualifying matches will be played in August and September of this year.
Portugal's 'B' Team beat Georgia 4-1 in Rio Maior Thursday, finishing thrid in the Tagus Valley Tournament. Hugo Almeida (2), Semedo and Bruno Amaro got the Portuguese goals, Chelidze scoring for Georgia. Slovakia beat Slovenia 3-2 to win the tournament).
Portugal's 'B' Team was prevented from reaching the Final of the four-team Tagus Valley Tournament in Abrantes Tuesday when they drew 1-1 with Slovenia but lost 0-3 on penalties . The tournament has come in for a lot of criticism given the crucial stage of the Liga and the poossibility of players getting tired or injured; Académica central defender José Castro had to leave the field with a sprained leg. Slovakia beat Georgia 3-1 to reach the final.
Portugal lined up: Bruno Vale, Filipe Oliveira, José Castro, José Fonte, José Gonçalves, Custódio, Raul Meireles, Ricardo Quaresma, João Moutinho, Diogo Valente, Hugo Almeida - Plus: Semedo, Nani, Davide, Varela, Ivanildo
Portugal's strip for the World Cup will be a breakaway from the traditional. Shirt shorts and socks will be what Nike calls 'light-ginger' (deep red), with green only on the collar and cuffs of the shirt. The second strip will be all black with gold trim. The strips are to be officially presented on 13 February.
Given the departure foretold of Sven Goran Eriksson from his job as England coach, the interview given by Portugal coach Luíz Felipe Scolari to the British Sunday paper 'The Observer' takes on extra significance. In it, the Brazilian said: "I'm totally committed to Portugal until the end of the the World Cup 2006 ... I would look with interest at any invitation to work with the England team, but I'll only be able to talk about it after the end of my contract. I'm pleased that my name is mentioned in relation to working in England, but I have to respect my professional committments."