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national team - 2009

footballportugal

17/12/09

Portugal end 2009 in fifth position in the FIFA rankings, announced on Wednesday.

1. Spain
2. Brazil
3. Holland
4. Italy
5. PORTUGAL
6. Germany
7. France
8. Argentina
9. England
10. Croatia

14/12/09

Central defender Pepe tore ligaments in his right knee during Real Madrid's Spanish league match at Valência on Saturday and is now doubtful for Portugal's World Cup campaign in the summer; the recovery time is estimated at six months.

28/11/09

FPF president Gilberto Madaíl revealed on Friday that Portugal will receive from FIFA "between four and six million euros" for simply qualifying for next year's World Cup Finals. He added that Portugal got around 12 or 13 million euros for achieving fourth place in 2006.

19/11/09

Portugal are into the World Cup Finals after beating Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 in the play-off in Bosnia on Wednesday. The Selecção were well in control of play, despite Bosnia having more possession, and had the best chances throughout. Tiago was first to threaten, heading wide at the near post from a Deco corner on five minutes. Bosnia's first real shot came after 20, Ibisevic shooting low for Eduardo (just 2 goals conceded now in 12 games) to collect. On 24 minutes, an intricate move near the penalty area ended with a touch through by Tiago that left Raul Meireles clear on goal, but Hasagic blocked his shot with his feet.

Three minutes into the second half, Nani tried out the Bosnian 'keeper with the same result. And then on 55 minutes, the all-important goal: Nani collected the ball on the left, looked up, passed it square across the face of the penalty area, Liedson let it run and Raul Meireles, one of the best if not the best player on the night, slotted it coolly past Hasagic's right hand.

From that point on, Bosnia needed three goals, but it was 75 minutes before they really threatened, a free-kick from Pjanic palmed over the bar by Eduardo. Any Bosnian resistance collapsed on 76 minutes when Salihovic saw a red card, apparently for words. The card was followed by several minutes of stoppages when the Bosnian crowd began throwing things onto the pitch, with something apparently hitting the linesman. Bosnia stretched their game looking for the three goals they needed, and Portugal took advantage of the spaces at the back to put pressure on the Bosnian goal, notably through Bruno Alves and sub Edinho. But Bosnia were proving a little more accessible than pre-match pressure had indicated, the time wore out, and Portugal had qualified.

Bosnia: Hasagic, Nadarevic, Jahic, Pandza, Bajramovic (Berberovic 81), Pjanic, Ibricic, Salihovic, Medunjanin (Muslimovic 46), Dzeko, Ibisevic.

Portugal: Eduardo, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Duda, Pepe, Raul Meireles, Tiago, Simão (Deco 79), Nani (Edinho 72), Liedson (Miguel Veloso 89).

Carlos Queiroz (coach): "As I've always said, marathons only finish when they finish. All games end when the referee blows his whistle ... and we played until the end. I'm grateful for the support of the people who always believed in us and remained convinced that we'd be in the World Cup.

Raul Meireles (goal-scorer): "Am I satisfied? Of course I am, but the most important thing was the attitude of the team, in a difficult stadium and on a terrible pitch. You can't always play well, but we're in the World Cup and very pleased about it.

Simão (captain): "We did it ... and how! We achieved our objective ... it was a long road, but when it ends well we have to be happy. We've taken our country to the biggest competition in the world. There's always criticism – we're used to it, but it makes us stronger. Now we have to enjoy this moment, prepare the finals as best we can and wait to see the groupings … the group was always the most important thing – we never thought individually. I'm overjoyed at leading this group, and we're on the right road. In this final phase we played good football ... we just have to concentrate more.

Nani: "The team's fantastic attitude was fundamental. We managed to bring yet more joy to Portuguese football, on a difficult pitch and in front of a complicated crowd."

Deco: "We didn't always put in great performances [in qualifying], but the most important thing was reaching the World Cup. With a lot of effort, we got there! We always believed we could."

Ricardo Carvalho: "We shouldn't have needed to go to the play-offs, but in fact it felt better that way … We knew how important it was to be in the World Cup, and I think we were the better side over the two games. We'll take it as it comes ... after tat, anything is possible. We want to dignify our country. But we deserved this ... we could even have scored more goals.

18/11/09

Portugal took their one and only training session at the Bilino Polje stadium in Zenica ahead of the second leg of their World Cup play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina (1-0 to Portugal from the first leg). Bruno Alves and Deco, doubts for the game, both trained and look likely to start. There are worries about the poor condition of the pitch at the 15,000 seat stadium. Portugal are sure to encounter an aggressive crowd; the players were verbally abused when they arrived at Sarajevo airport on Monday, and there were reports of pushing and spitting from the waiting Bosnian fans, with the police keeping a low profile.

Portugal's U-21s beat Greece 2-1 in Olhão on Tuesday, keeping alive their tenuous hopes of qualifying for Euro-2011. Portugal had various chances to take the lead in the first half, but it only happened in the second, Rui Pedro heading in from a Pereirinha cross on 51 minutes. Portugal extended their lead on 74 minutes, Yazalde running on strongly before slotting the ball through Babaniotis's legs. Dimoutsos pulled one back for Greece near the end, but it was too late for them to do any more.

Group 9:

1. Greece, played 6 / 13 points
2. England, 5/11
3.
Portugal, 5/7
4. Lithuania, 6/5
5. Macedonia, 6/2

15/11/09

Portugal beat Bosnia 1-0 in front of 60,588 at the Luz on Saturday in the first leg of their World Cup play-off. It is a lean margin to take into the second leg, but Portugal must be thankful that they did not concede any 'away' goals; luck was certainly on their side on the night.

Portugal were methodical and patient in their build-up throughout, while Bosnia were relying perhaps a little too much on the long ball to Dzeko and dead-ball situations. Portugal had the first real chance, Liedson heading wide at the back post following a Deco free kick. But Bosnia were also getting near the goal, and Misimovic twice and Ibricic created danger in the first ten minutes. Bruno Alves, Simão with a free and Paulo Ferreira all came close before Raul Meireles put a drive in from 25 metres that Hasagic had to palm over. Then on 31 minutes, Nani took the ball down the right, crossed low in front of the goal and the defenders and goalkeeper watched on as Bruno Alves popped up at the back post to duck and head in. As so often happens, Portugal sat back briefly to savour the lead, and it could have proved fatal. Salihovic shot from the edge of the box for Eduardo to dive and block, and then from a Misimovic corner just before the break, Ibricic headed against the bar. It was Portugal's first bit of luck.

Bosnia were much more in the game in the second half, but Portugal were still dangerous: on 57 minutes, Liedson did everything right when he flipped the ball over the head of his marker, but from ten metres he flashed his shot over the bar with only Hasagic to beat. The Bosnian 'keeper saved efforts from Meireles and Simão, but as full time approached, Bosnia shifted into top gear. On 76 minutes, Dzeko made room for himself on the left but sent his shot into the side netting. And two minutes from time, Portugal got another giant slice of luck: Dezko headed against the bar, the ball fell for Muslimovic, and the sub cracked his shot against the post with Eduardo stranded. In the dying seconds Portugal had the last word as Tiago, on as sub for Deco, forced Hasagic down to save his shot from the edge of the area.

A win for Portugal, then, but as coach Carlos Queiroz warned, this is only half-time in the tie. The two teams meet for the showdown in Zenica on Wednesday. A final bit of luck for Portugal: Bosnia's Muratovic, Rahimic and captain Spahic will miss the game after seeing yellow cards on Saturday.

Portugal: Eduardo, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Duda, Pepe, Raul Meireles, Deco (Tiago 83), Nani (Fábio Coentrão 68), Simão (Hugo Almeida 87), Liedson.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Hasagic, Jahic, Nadarevic, Spahic, Ibricic, Salihovic, Rahimic, Muratovic (Pjanic 86), Misimovic (Muslimovic 81), Ibisevic, Dzeko.

14/11/09

The Estádio da Luz (capacity 62,000) has sold out for Saturday's play-off match between Portugal and Bosnia-Herzegovina, who will have 3,700 fans at the ground.

There are no last-minute injury worries for Portugal (apart from Cristiano Ronaldo and Pedro Mendes, both out), so the starting line-up should look something like this:

Eduardo
Miguel, Bruno Alves, Ricardo Carvalho, Duda
Pepe, Deco, Raul Meireles
Nani, Liedson, Simão

Portugal's U-21s lost 0-1 against England at Wembley on Saturday, making it very unlikely that they will be able to qualify for Euro 2011. Portugal were technically superior to England, but the English were much stronger physically, and this factor, plus a number of missed opportunities, notably by Yazalde, was decisive. The all-important goal came against the run of play on 39 minutes, the impressive Carroll beating Carriço and Miguel Vítor to the ball to nod it down for Rose to score from close range.

Portugal are third in the group on four points from four games, while England have ten and Greece, who Portugal play on Tuesday, have thirteen. Macedonia have two points and Lithuania one

England: Scott Loach, Michael Mancienne (Kyle Naughton, 76), Micah Richards, Christopher Smalling, Ryan Bertrand, Fabrice Muamba, Fabian Delph (Dan Gosling 92), Kieran Gibbs, Thomas Cleverley, Danny Rose (Jack Cork, 76), Andrew Carroll.

Portugal: Ventura, Pereirinha, Daniel Carriço, Miguel Vítor, Fábio Faria, Adrien Silva (Castro 64), Rui Pedro (João Aurélio 78), Pedro Moreira, Fredy (Tiago Cintra 57), Ukra, Yazalde.

11/11/09

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, recovering from an ankle injury, travelled to Lisbon on Tuesday in order for the Selecção's medical staff to check his injury. He was released from playing in the upcoming play-off games against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

09/11/09

Carlos Queiróz announced his squad on Sunday for the upcoming World Cup play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina. In come goalkeeper Hilário of Chelsea and Fábio Coentrão of Benfica for their first call-ups. Ricardo Costa of Wolfsburg, Hugo Almeida of Werder Bremen and Miguel of Valência all return. Out are Nuno Gomes and César Peixoto of Benfica, the latter injured, Pedro Mendes of Rangers, also injured, Nuno Assis of Vitória de Guimarães, Beto of FC Porto and Bosingwa of Chelsea, recovering from an injury. Cristinao Ronaldo is in the squad but is unlikely to play as he is still recovering from an ankle injury.

Goalkeepers:
Hilário (Chelsea)
Eduardo (Sporting Braga)
Rui Patrício (Sporting)

Defenders:
Ricardo Costa (Wolfsburg)
Bruno Alves (F.C. Porto)
Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea)
Miguel (Valência)
Pepe (Real Madrid)
Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea)
Rolando (F.C. Porto)

Midefielders:
Deco (Chelsea)
Duda (Málaga)
João Moutinho (Sporting)
Fábio Coentrão (Benfica)
Miguel Veloso (Sporting)
Raul Meireles (FC Porto)
Tiago (Juventus)

Forwards:
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Liedson (Sporting)
Nani (Manchester Utd)
Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)
Simão Sabrosa (Atlético Madrid)
Edinho (Málaga)

23/10/09

One of Portugal's best players in the recent World Cup qualifiers, the midfielder Pedro Mendes, will be out of action for around two months after damaging knee ligaments in Rangers' Champions League game against Unirea Urziceni. Mendes is sure to miss Portugal's upcoming World-Cup play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

20/10/09

Portugal will play Bosnia-Herzegovina in the qualification play-off for the World Cup in South Africa next summer. The Selecção will play at the Luz on 14 November , and in Bosnia four days later.

The FPF president Gilberto Madaíl has admitted that Portugal's contribution to the Iberian bid for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, in partnership with Spain, will be three stadiums: two in Lisbon and one in Porto.

18/10/09

Portugal will play their home tie of the World Cup play-off at Benfica's Luz Stadium in Lisbon. The other possible venue was Porto's Dragão, but Benfica's ground has a bigger capacity – 65,000.

The draw for the play-offs will take place on Monday. Portugal will meet one of the following countries: Ukraine, Republic Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Slovenia.

16/10/09

Portugal have climbed seven places to return to the Top Ten of the FIFA rankings after their two wins in the final World Cup qualifying group games:

1. Brazil 1632 points
2. Spain 1629
3. Holland 1340
4. Italy 1215
5. Germany 1161
6. Argentina 1103
7. England 1101
8. Croatia 1087
9. France 1049
10. Portugal 1042

Spanish sports paper Marca has suggested that Spanish coach Luís Aragonés is lying in waiting for Carlos Queiroz to slip up so that he can take over as Portugal coach. The former Spain coach has turned down a chance to join Villareal.

15/10/09

As expected, Portugal beat the bottom side in Group 1, Malta, 4-0 in front of a near- full-house of 29,350 at Vitória de Guimarães' D. Afonso Henriques stadium on Wednesday. The threat of Malta was illustrated in a first half in which Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo touched the ball just four times, three of which from back-passes by his own defenders. It was, then, just a question of time before Portugal would make a breakthrough, and it came on 13 minutes: Deco made a speculative pass inside that fell for Nani in a central position just outside the box, and the Manchester United winger swivelled to clip the ball in for his sixth international goal. Although Portugal had around 70% of possession, and Malta rarely set foot outside their half, the aim of Portugal's strike-force was wayward, and there was always a fear with a lead of just one goal that by accident, the team could shoot itself in the foot. Fortunately, a lot of pressure was taken off just before the break when Deco crossed from deep and Simão scored from the edge of the box.

The second half was a more relaxed affair, possibly too much so, but Portugal made virtually sure of the result on 51 minutes. Deco fed Nani on the right and his cross fell for Miguel Veloso; with Liedson drawing defenders away; the Sporting midfielder, left back on the night, prodded in for his first senior international goal. The same result as the away game earlier in the campaign was achieved on 90 minutes, Deco with a through ball that Simão touched for sub Edinho to round the 'keeper and tap in. On 92 minutes, Eduardo had to come out to catch an inoffensive through ball; it was the nearest Malta had come to his goal all evening.

Portugal: Eduardo, Bosingwa, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Miguel Veloso, Pedro Mendes, Raul Meireles (Nuno Assis 62), Deco, Simão, Nani (João Moutinho 73), Liedson (Edinho 62).

Malta: Andrew Hogg, Emanuel Muscat, Brian Said, Keneth Scicluna, Ian Azzopardi, Roderick Briffa (Kevin Sammut 88), Jamie Pace, John Hutchinson, Shaun Bajada (Ryan Fenech 73), Andrew Cohen (Clayton Failla 23), Michael Mifsud.

Portugal have qualified for the play-off and will be seeded along with France, Rússia and Greece. In the draw in Zürich on Monday they will learn who they will meet over two legs on 14 and 18 November: Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Slovenia or Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In the other Group 1 games on Wednesday, Denmark, already qualified, lost 0-1 at home to Hungary, while Sweden beat Albania 4-1 at home.

Final standings:

1. Denmark, played 10/ 21 points
2. Portugal, 10/ 19
3. Sweden, 10/ 18
4. Hungary, 10/ 16
5. Albania, 10/ 7
6. Malta, 10/ 1

11/10/09

Portugal threw themselves a welcome lifeline on Saturday in the quest for a place in the 2010 World Cup Finals. Hungary started on the same points in Group 1, but despite a couple of scares, it was Portugal who were stronger overall and who deserved their 3-0 win in front of 50,115 at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon.

The opening minutes revealed a tentative, rather nervous-looking Portugal side. In fact it was Hungary that got the first serious attempt on goal, Gera forcing Eduardo to palm his shot away on six minutes. But it was Portugal that were first on the score-sheet on 16 minutes: Cristiano Ronaldo broke to the line on the left and hit a low shot/cross that Babos could only parry, Simão following up to plant the ball home. A minute later, the same Simão was fed by Deco and put in a cross shot that Babos stopped with his legs. Cristiano Ronaldo left the field of play on 27 minutes, his right ankle not up to it, and Portugal felt his absence. In the last five minutes of the half, Dzudzak put a deflected shot just wide of the left-hand post, and on the stroke of half-time, a Gera header pinged off the bar.

The second half started uneventfully until ten minutes in, when Simão crossed for Liedson to miss his header by the hair that he doesn't have. On 64, Babos managed a superb double save to keep out Nani and Simão, and by the 70-minute mark, there were some whistles coming from the Luz stands, a sign of frustration at the players' failure to kill the game. But on 74 minutes and following a corner, the ball fell for Bruno Alves on the right and his delicate cross was met by Liedson's head, the ball crossing the line despite Babos' desperate clawback. Then five minutes later, the result was clinched, Duda crossing from the left to the back post where Simão had time to pick his spot and volley home.

Portugal: Eduardo, Bosingwa, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Duda, Raul Meireles, Pedro Mendes, Deco, C. Ronaldo (Nani, 27), Liedson (Nuno Gomes 83), Simão (Miguel Veloso 80).

Hungary: Babos, Bodnar, Gyepes, Juhász, Vanczak, Toth, Vadocz (Priskin, 56), Huszti (Buzsaky 66), Gera, Dzudzak (Varga 83), Thorgelle

Portugal are back in business in terms of qualification. Earlier, Denmark had beaten Sweden 1-0 at home, confirming that they had qualified as Group 1 winners. Portugal's win took them into second with 15 points; they need only beat Malta in Guimarães on Wednesday to make it to the play-offs.

1. Denmark played 9/ 21 points
2. PORTUGAL 9/ 16
3. Sweden 9/ 15
4. Hungary 9/ 13
5. Albania 9/ 7
6. Malta 9/ 1

03/10/09

Rangers midfielder Pedro Mendes has been added to the National Team squad, announced on Thursday. (see below)

02/10/09

Coach Carlos Queiroz has named his 22-man squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Hungary (10/10) and Malta (14/10):

Goalkeepers: Beto (FC Porto), Eduardo (Sporting de Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting).
Defenders: Bosingwa (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Rolando (FC Porto), César Peixoto (Benfica).
Midfielders: Deco (Chelsea), Duda (Málaga), João Moutinho (Sporting), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Raúl Meireles (FC Porto), Tiago (Juventus), Nuno Assis (Vitória de Guimarães).
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Liedson (Sporting), Nani (Manchester United), Nuno Gomes (Benfica), Simão (Atlético Madrid).

27/08/09

Carlos Queiroz has named his squad for the upcoming qualifying matches against Denmark and Hungary. There is a first call-up for Sporting's Brazilian-born striker Liedson , who has just become naturalised.

Goalkeepers: Beto (FC Porto), Eduardo (Sporting Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting);

Defenders: Bosingwa (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (FC Porto), José Castro (Deportivo), Miguel (Valencia), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Rolando (FC Porto);

Midfielders: Deco (Chelsea), Duda (Sevilla), João Moutinho (Sporting), Maniche (FC Köln), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Raúl Meireles (FC Porto), Tiago (Juventus);

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Liedson (Sporting), Nani (Manchester United), Nuno Gomes (Benfica), Simão Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid).

Oceano, the U-21 coach, also named his squad for the Europan Championship qualifier against Lithuania on 4 September:

Benfica: Fábio Coentrão, Miguel Vitor;
Nacional: João Aurélio;
Olhanense: Castro, Rabiola, Tengarrinha, Ukra, Ventura;
Penafiel: Rafa;
Recreativo Huelva: Candeias;
Rio Ave: Fábio Faria, Trigueira;
Sporting Braga: Yazalde;
Sporting: Adrien Silva, Bruno Pereirinha, Daniel Carriço.
União de Leiria: André Santos;
Vitória de Setúbal: Ruben Lima.

26/08/09

Striker Hugo Almeida is injured and wil miss the vital World Cup qualifiers against Denmark and Hungary in early September. The injury may open up a spot for Sporting's Brazilian striker Liedson , who has just become naturalised.

13/08/09

Portugal beat Liechtenstein 3-0 in Vaduz on Wednesday. It was a stroll for the Selecção, even without Cristiano Ronaldo. The home side rarely left their own half before the break, their best chance coming from a wayward back-pass by Ricardo Carvalho that Eduardo had to skip across his goal to collect. The result was decided in a ten minute period in the first half, during which Portugal played some good, cohesive football, although their display has to be judged in the light of the quality of the opposition. On 15 minutes, the Liechtenstein defence got in a tangle, the ball fell for Hugo Almeida and his shot was unstoppable from five metres. On 22, the ball was worked across the goal from the right through Bosingwa, Tiago and Simão, and on to Raul Meireles who hooked a shot past Jehle from the edge of the box. Then on 25 minutes, Tiago, Deco and Simão moved the ball through the centre, Simão broke right and his low cross was turned in by Hugo Almeida for his second, and his sixth goal for Portugal in 22 games.

In the second half, Portugal literally took a stroll and allowed Liechtenstein chances, mainly through the useful Christen. But the score remained, and the game will be seen by coach Carlos Queiroz as an exercise in team building before the decisive World Cup qualifiers in September against Denmark and Hungary.

Liechtenstein: Jehle, Vogt (Rechsteiner 45), Martin Stocklasa, Michael Stocklasa, Oehri, Ritzberger (Christen 45), Buchel, Polverino (Stefan Buchel 82), Burgmeier (Beck 76), Thomas Beck (Rohrer 45), Mario Frick

Portugal: Eduardo (Moreira 61), Bosingwa, Ricardo Carvalho (Rolando 62), Bruno Alves (Nani 72), Duda (Miguel 53), Pepe, Raul Meireles, Deco, Tiago (João Moutinho 53), Hugo Almeida, Simão (Eliseu 62)

12/08/09

Portugal U-21s put in a good performance on Tuesday to beat their counterparts from Northern Ireland 2-1 in a friendly in Guarda. The busy Fábio Coentrão got the first goal on 57 minutes on the counter-attack, Yazalde headed home five minutes later and Duffy put a question mark over the result a quarter of an hour from the end from the spot. His team-mate Flynn was sent off a minute later. It was coach Oceano's first game in charge.

Portugal: Rui Patrício (Ventura 46), Bruno Pereirinha, Daniel Carriço, André Pinto (Miguel Vítor 70), Ruben Lima, André Santos (Tengarrinha 46), Adrien, Castro (Marco Matias 66), Ukra (Candeias 46), Yazalde, Fábio Coentrão (Rui Fonte 81).

Northern Ireland: O Neill, Casement, Flynn, Duffy, Magnay, Lowry (Norwood 46), Evans (Shroot 57), Garret, Ferguson (Donnelly 46, Gibb, 80), McGurk (Lawrie 41), Magennis

11/08/09

Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out of Portugal's friendly against Liechtenstein on Wednesday with "flu-like symptoms". His place in the squad will be taken by Eliseu of Lázio.

Meanwhile, Carlos Queiroz had just ten players at his disposal for training in Massamá on Monday, three of them goalkeepers. The Chelsea and Porto players were excused from training because they had hard games at the weekend.

07/08/09

Carlos Queiroz has called up just 18 players for the forthcoming game against Liechtenstein; six players have been removed from the last squad: Daniel Fernandes, Gonçalo Brandão, José Castro, Eliseu, Luís Boa Morte (injured) and Edinho.

The squad:

Goalkeepers:
Beto (F.C. Porto)
Eduardo (Sporting Braga)
Moreira (Benfica)

Defenders:
Bosingwa (Chelsea)
Bruno Alves (F.C. Porto)
Miguel (Valencia)
Pepe (Real Madrid)
Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea)
Rolando (F.C. Porto)

Midfielders:
Deco (Chelsea)
Duda (Sevilha)
João Moutinho (Sporting)
Raúl Meireles (FC Porto)
Tiago (Juventus FC)

Forwards:
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)
Nani (Manchester Utd)
Simão Sabrosa (Atlético Madrid)

Coach Oceano Cruz has announced his first call-up for the Portuguese U-21s, for a friendly against Northern Ireland in Guarda on 11 August.

The squad:
Fátima: Marco Matias;
Huelva: Candeias;
Rio Ave: Fábio Faria;
Benfica: Fábio Coentrão, Miguel Vítor, Nelson Oliveira;
Sporting Braga: Yazalde;
Olhanense: Castro, Tengarrinha, Ukra, Ventura;
Sporting: Adrien Silva, Bruno Pereirinha, Daniel Carriço, Rui Patrício;
União de Leiria: André Santos;
Vitória de Setúbal: André Pinto, Ruben Lima, Rui Fonte.

19/07/09

Sporting's Liedson has written to the Portuguese Football Federation to say that he is available to play for the Selecção. The Brazilian-born striker has been going through a naturalisation process to become a Portuguese citizen. It will now be up to national team coach Carlos Queiróz to decide whether to play O Levezinho; goalcoring is the Selecção's Achilles heel.

12/07/09

Portugal's last two World Cup qualifiers will be played at Benfica's Luz Stadium and Vitória de Guimarães' Estádio D. Afonso Henriques. Portugal meet Hungary at the Luz on 10 October, and play Malta in the north on 14 October.

The games may be redundant unless Portugal can get good results in Denmark on 5 September and in Hungary on 9 September.

Portugal are currently third in Group 1 on the same points as Sweden but seven points behind Denmark and four behind Hungary.

02/07/09

Portugal has slipped six places to 17th in the FIFA rankings, the Selecção's worst position since 2003. Top of the rankings is Brazil, followed by Spain and Holland.

26/06/09

Carlos Queiroz has taken a broom to the various national teams. He has appointed former Sporting captain Oceano Cruz as coach of the U-21s, taking over from Rui Caçador. Another ex-Sporting player, Paulo Alves, will coach the U-20s. Ilídio Vale will remain in charge of the U-19s, with former Vitória de Setúbal player and coach Hélio Sousa in charge of the U-18s. Yet another former Sporting player, Rui Bento, last year in charge at Boavista, relegated to the third tier, will look after the U-17s, while Emílio Peixe, yet another fomer Sportinguista, will be the U-16 coach.

11/06/09

After scraping a 2-1 win over Albania in last weekend's World Cup qualifier, Portugal fielded a second string against Estonia and saw the eastern Europeans dominate for long stretches, so much so that Portugal's debutant 'keeper, Beto, was clearly the Selecção's Man of the Match, producing a series of vital saves to keep Estonia out, most notably from a point blank header by Purge in the first half.

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz was up-beat after the 0-0 draw: "The objective was met. The players who were here gave their all … maybe some were a little nervous …". But the 'friendly' served very little purpose and might well have ended in humiliation had it not been for Beto.

The teams lined up:

Estonia: Mart Poom (Pareiko 31), Jaager, Barengrub, Piiroja, Klavan, Kink (Kruglov 70), Dimitrijev, Vunk (Voskoboinikov 54), Purge (Sisov 78), Vassilijev, Zenjov (Puri 70).
Portugal: Beto, Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho (Pepe 59), Rolando, Gonçalo Brandão (Duda 68), Zé Castro (Bruno Alves 89), Tiago, Boa Morte (Hugo Almeida 84), Eliseu (Raul Meireles 68), Edinho, Nani.

07/06/09

Portugal won the first of 'five finals' on Saturday with a view to qualifying for the World Cup in South Africa next year. However, the manner of the win, 2-1 in Albania, cannot augur well for the remaining games; they struggled throughout to produce coherent attacking play against what is generally considered to be one of the lesser European teams, and managed the vital three points only in added time at the end of the game.

Cristiano Ronaldo, heavily marked and often roughly treated by the no-nonsense Albanians, was denied what looked like a penalty on seven minutes, but shortly afterwards, Portugal took the lead, Hugo Almeida heading in from point blank range at the back post after a cross by Bosingwa from the right had sailed across the face of the goal. It seemed that the deadlock had been broken and that Portugal would be able to build on the lead, but within two minutes Albania were level, Skela crossing from the left for Bodgani to head in, with the centre of Portugal's defence all at sea.

There followed more than an hour of largely muddled play by Portugal, and by the end, coach Queiroz was ordering balls to be rained in on the Albania area; a draw would have put South Africa virtually beyond reach. Then two minutes into added time, just such a ball, from Raul Meireles on the right, found central defender Bruno Alves anticipating the cross and beating Hidi to the ball for an easy close-range header. The Portuguese camp breathed a sigh of relief; it will still be an uphill struggle, but that late goal might just be the liefline the Selecção needs.

The teams lined up:

Albania: Isli Hidi, Kristi Vangjeli, Lorik Cana, Debatik Curri, Endri Vrapi, Elvin Beqiri, Ansi Agolli, Ervin Bulku, Klodian Duro (Besart Berisha 86), Ervin Skela (Dorian Bylykbashi 94), Erjon Bogdani (Hamdi Salihi 65).

Portugal: Eduardo, Bosingwa, Bruno Alves, Ricardo Carvalho (Nani 76), Duda, Pepe, Raúl Meireles, Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Boa Morte (Simão Sabrosa 46), Hugo Almeida (Edinho 69).

In the other Group 1 game on Saturday, group leaders Denmark won 1-0 in Sweden to extend their lead at the top, and give Portugal a hope of making it to the play-offs by reaching second place.

The Group 1 table looks like this:

1. Denmark, 16 points from 6 games
2. Hungary, 13/6
3. Portugal, 9/6
4. Sweden, 6/5
5. Albania, 6/8
6. Malta, 1/7

After the Albania game it was announced that Deco, Simão Sabrosa, João Moutinho, Bosingwa and Cristiano Ronaldo will miss Wednesday's friendly in Estonia through various physical limitations.

30/05/09

Luís Boa Morte, Moreira and Zé Castro, the latter for the first time, come into Carlos Queiroz's Selecção for the upcoming games against Albania and Estonia. Out are Quim, Fernando Meira, Ricardo Quaresma and Hélder Postiga.

Squad:

Goalkeepers:
Beto (Leixões)
Daniel Fernandes (Bochum)
Eduardo (Sporting Braga)
Moreira (Benfica)

Defenders:
Bosingwa (Chelsea)
Bruno Alves (F.C. Porto)
Gonçalo Brandão (Siena)
José Castro (Deportivo Coruña)
Miguel (Valência)
Pepe (Real Madrid)
Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea)
Rolando (F.C. Porto)

Midfielders:
Deco (Chelsea)
Duda (Málaga)
Eliseu (Málaga)
João Moutinho (Sporting)
Raúl Meireles (F.C. Porto)
Tiago (Juventus)

Forwards:
Boa Morte (West Ham)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester Utd)
Edinho (AEK)
Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)
Nani (Manchester Utd)
Simão Sabrosa (Atlético de Madrid)

29/03/09

Portugal failed to score for the third game in succession and seriously prejudiced their chances of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup when they could only draw 0-0 at home to Sweden on Saturday. They have won just one of their five matches (4-0 against Malta), have lost one and drawn three; their last three games have been 0-0 draws.

The Selecção looked more of a cohesive outfit than in recent games, but their Achilles heel was once again around the goal, where coach Carlos Queiróz decided to start without a recognised striker, the mobile Danny doing his best. They created numerous chances to score throughout the game but were foiled by poor finishing, solid defending from Sweden and a safe display from 'keeper Isaksson.

On 15 minutes, Pepe, playing in a midfield role, drove wide; on 17, Cristiano Ronaldo chipped wide from an angle after being put through by Tiago; on 24, a Duda cross from the left hit the near post; on 42, Simão shot wide from the edge of the box after a flowing move; on 72, Isaksson was down to his right to stop a shot from Deco, on as sub; a minute later, Isaksson was on hand to stop a Cristiano Ronaldo effort from 25 metres; on 75, a Deco swerver drifted just wide; and on 84, what looked like a simple chance was headed over by Cristiano Ronaldo from a free kick on the left.

Sweden had their chances, notably a header that Henrik Larsson put over on 28 minutes and two dangerous headers from Elmander around the 50-minute mark that Eduardo dealt with well.

Portugal will now depend heavily on third-party results going their way. At the same time, they will have to start scoring goals if they want still to dream about a ticket to South Africa. Meanwhile, they have a friendly midweek against the South African national team, which will be an opportunity to experiment with the attack.

Portugal: Eduardo, Bosingwa (Rolando 45), Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Duda, Pepe, Raul Meireles, Tiago (Deco 62), Simão, Danny (Hugo Almeida 66), Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sweden: Andreas Isaksson, Mikael Nilsson, Jerald Mellberg, Daniel Majstorovic, Adam Johanson, Anders Svensson (Sebastian Larsson 82), Kim Kallstrom, Samuel Holmén (Christian Wilhelmsson 58), Rasmus Elm, Johan Elmander (Marcus Berg 86), Henrik Larsson.

In the other Group 1 games on Saturday, Denmark beat Malta 3-0 away, and Hungary won 1-0 in Albania. Denmark and Hungary share top spot in the group:

1. Denmark, 10 points from 4 games
2. Hungary, 10/5
3. Portugal, 6/5
4. Sweden, 6/4
5. Albania, 6/6
6. Malta, 1/6

Portugal's remaining games are:

Albania-Portugal (06/06/09)
Denmark-Portugal (05/09/09)
Hungary-Portugal (09/09/09)
Portugal-Hungary (10/10/09)
Portugal-Malta (14/10/09)

What they said about the game:

Queiróz:
"Of course we're frustrated after so much effort. Football isn't for those who deserve it but those who win. We would have like to do better, and the fans deserved it. Nothing's over; we're in a difficult situation, but this is a marathon. Let's wait; Sweden have a series of hard games and we're going to have to get some results away from home. I have to congratulate my players, who put in a tremendous effort. They're sad and frustrated because they feel they deserve more, but football isn't for those who deserve it, it's for those who win, who get points. Losing another two points at home was not in our plans. I'm convinced that that with this team, we're going to get the results we need to qualify. I have to be the first to believe that we can succeed."

"We started with speed, mobility and creativity, and I think we were very good. We caused Sweden a lot of problems. The players are fine professionals and are very sad. We have a sense of responsibility and we wanted to give the fans a great victory. We're all disappointed. Bosingwa going off injured was key because our plan was based on attacking down the flanks. It was important for Bosingwa and Duda to support the forwards."

"The only solution is to carry on shooting and trying to score. We played well, tried everything ... our luck has to change. It's also important that the referees start to give penalties in our favour. There was another one tonight – a foul by Isaksson on Cristiano Ronaldo. That's happened in four games in a row. It seems that Henrik Larsson's comments worked. He talked during the week, he talked during the game, and it worked. We have to carry on and get points. If a team gets 21 points, it can end up in first place. We have a marathon to run and we still have a lot of ambition. I'm fully convinced that we'll get the points we need."

Cristiano Ronaldo:
"I think we did everything to win: the team played well, the players ran, we all helped each other. Yesterday in training we scored ten goals. Today we didn't manage any. That's football. We did everything that was possible and impossible to score, but sometimes the ball just won't go in. I'm sad about the result but satisfied with the performance. What counts are points, but we have to continue to believe. I don't feel like I'm out of the Word Cup yet."

Deco (on as sub on 62 minutes):
"I tried to recover, but I hadn't trained for ten days, so it's natural that the coach should try another option. But that's not why we failed. It's going to be hard to be first in the group, we know that. We have five more games to play, and if we end up in second place, we go to the play-offs. I think that in the first game against Denmark (2-3) we were very good, but what with one thing and another, we ended up not winning. It's difficult to explain what happens; we have a new coach, new players … it's natural that there's going to be a period of adaptation. We need to win, that's what matters, but I think we put in a good display, and that's encouraging."

Tiago:
"The sums are difficult now. We've lost points at home that we shouldn't have lost. We've had chances, we've maged to create them, but we've failed to score. We've also been unlucky. We've begun to see that it's going to be hard to qualify, but we have to react. There was disappointment in the changing room, but the final word were ones of encouragement, because we still have five games and we can still qualify."

Hugo Almeida:
"We created a lot of chances, but we just couldn't score. Luck wasn't on our side. Nothing's lost – we have to lift our heads up. We've been unlucky ... it's something I can't explain. We're creating chances, shooting at goal. We're all asking ourselves why the ball isn't going in, but that's football. There are still a lot of points up for grabs, and until they tell us that we're finished, we're going to fight. Playing without a striker is the mister's option. Danny played his part and played well."

Pepe:
It's hard to work so well and … The group is united and we're playing well, but unfortunately, we can't manage to score; but Portugal has good players and we're going to do it. We knew that this game was fundamental because each game that passes makes it more difficult for us to qualify, but I believe we can do it."

Bruno Alves:
"Given what we did during the game, we deserved a different result. We attacked more and had more chances. We have to carry on fighting regardless. I don't think we have trouble scoring: Cristiano Ronaldo scores a lot of goals, Hugo Almeida too. the quality is there, we just haven't been lucky. We have to work to get some wins away. Nothing's lost."

Simão:
"We were playing against a good team that caused us problems. We had chances to win, but nothing in football is easy. We just need to win the remaining games. We knew the pressure we would be under. We had a fantastic week, in which the group got stronger, and we need to carry on like that in the next game and try to take our chances. We have to be ruthless. The time has come to show that this side has to be in the World Cup. Being out of the World Cup is unthinkable for us. Of course it's a delicate time, but we're going to continue to have confidence."

Gilberto Madaíl (president of the FPF):
"It was an excellent performance and, for reasons I can't fathom, we couldn't score. It was a great disappointment for me because we played well enough to win. As long as it's mathematically possible, I believe we can do it. While there's still a chance, we'll continue to fight."

28/03/09

Goals from Orlando Sá and Fábio Coentrão gave Portugal's U-21s a 2-1 victory over Finland on Friday to win the Madeira International Tournament. They had already beaten Cape Verde (see below) and the Madeira selection (1-0 with a goal from Rui Fonte).

The teams lined up:

Portugal: Rui Patrício, João Gonçalves (Miguel Vítor 46), Daniel Carriço, Bura, André Pinto, Stélvio, Romeu Ribeiro (Castro 46), Adrien (Ruben Lima 77), Yazalde (Ukra 59), Orlando Sá, Fábio Coentrão (Candeias 67).

Finland: Lehtovaara, Nikkari, Toivio, Vartto, Matila (Tanska 60), Kolehmainen, Virtanen, Ojala, Mannstromm, Riski, Kangaskolkka.

25/03/09

Portugal U-21s won their first game of the Madeira International Tournament against Cape Verde 2-0 on Tuesday. Braga's Orlando Sá scored from the spot on 15 minutes and Fábio Coentrão of Rio Ave made it two on 66 after a pass from Sporting's Adrien. Six minutes from time, Portugal had a chance to make it three with another penalty, but Pereirinha tried to be too clever, 'passing' the penalty kick to Rui Pedro, who was beaten to the ball by a Cape Verdean defender and it was cleared. Portugal coach Rui Caçador said that the lax trick was an insult to Portugal's opponents and that it would never happen again.

The teams lined up:

Portugal: Rui Patrício, João Gonçalves, Carriço, Miguel Vítor, Ruben Lima, Adrien (Stélvio 71), Castro, Pereirinha, Ukra (Rui Fonte 61), Candeias (Fábio Coentrão 46), Orlando Sá (Rui Pedro 80).

Cabo Verde: Hélio, Norton Santos, Admilson, Pedro Correia, Ianique (Nivaldo Santos 76), Edson Cruz, Valter Borges, Sténio Santos, Josi Duarte (Ryan Mendes 46), Dany Ribeiro (José Santos 67), Heldon Ramos (Anthonio Correia 82).

The other game in the tournament finished Finland 1-0 Selecção de Madeira.

23/03/09

Striker Edinho, 26, currently in the service of AEK Athens, has been called up for the Selecção ahead of the vital World Cup qualifier against Sweden next Saturday. It is his first time in the main squad. In Portugal, Edinho played for Vitória de Setúbal (his last team), Gil Vicente, Paços de Ferreira and Sporting de Braga.

20/03/09

Carlos Queiroz named his 21-man squad on Thursday for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Sweden on 28 March and the friendly three days later against South Africa in Lausanne, Switzerland. Notable is the début of Leixões 'keeper Beto, while Nelson, Bosingwa, Ricardo Carvalho and Simão Sabrosa all return. Deco is included despite being injured for Chelsea.

The squad:

Goalkeepers
: Daniel Fernandes (Bochum/Germany), Eduardo (Sporting Braga), Beto (Leixões).

Defenders: Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Gonçalo Brandão (Siena/Italy), Pepe (Real Madrid/Spain), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea/England), Nélson (Bétis/Spain), Bosingwa (Chelsea/England), Rolando (FC Porto).

Midfilders : Deco (Chelsea/england), João Moutinho (Sporting), Maniche (Atlético Madrid/Spain), Raúl Meireles (FC Porto), Duda (Málaga/Spain), Tiago (Juventus/Italy).

Forwards: Danny (Zenit/Russia), Simão (Atlético Madrid/Spain), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen/Germany), Nani (Manchester United/Englan), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United/England).

07/03/09

Paulo Ferreira, Chelsea's full back, has injured a knee in training and will be out for the rest of the season, missing the vital World Cup qualifier against Sweden on 28 March.

12/02/09

After the trauma of the 2-6 thrashing by Brazil in their last game, Portugal healed the wounds somewhat with a 1-0 friendly win over Finland in front of 19,000 at the Estádio do Algarve . Portugal dominated throughout, with over 20 shots on goal, but in the first half Jääskeläinen was immense in stopping a number of them, and on other occasions, Portugal's lack of ruthlessness betrayed them. Indeed, it was only from the spot that they managed to score at all; Danny, just on as sub, was brought down and Cristiano Ronaldo slotted the penalty crisply home.

It was an experimental line-up chosen by Carlos Queiroz, with Eduardo, Rolando and Duda making their first starts. He started with a back four of Miguel, Rolando, Bruno Alves and Duda (in the unfamiliar left back position) and a midfield that included central defender Pepe as roaming trinco supporting Tiago and Deco. Two wide players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, fed Hugo Almeida up front. Raul Meireles and Maniche came on in the second half to shore up the midfield, while Danny gave the attack a little pace down the left and Orlando Sá made his début. But Portugal will need to improve their shooting for the vital World Cup qualifier against Sweden on 28 March.

The teams lined up:

Portugal: Eduardo (Daniel Fernandes 61), Miguel (Paulo Ferreira 62), Bruno Alves, Rolando, Pepe (Raul Meireles 46), Duda, Tiago (Maniche 46), Deco, Nani (Danny 77), Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida (Orlando Sá 57).

Finlândia: Jussi Jääskeläinen (Niki Mäenpää 46), Petri Pasanen, Sami Hyypiä, Hannu Tihinen, Toni Kallio, Jonatan Johansson, Roman Eremenko, Markus Heikkinen, Joonas Kolkka (Juha Hakola 79), Mikael Forssell (Daniel Sjölund 46), Jari Litmanen (Shefki Kuqi 46).

11/02/09

Portugal's U-21s beat their Swiss counterparts 3-1 in Fátima on Tuesday in a friendly.

Amaury Bischoff put Portugal in front on four minutes after a defensive lapse from Jonas Elmer, and on the half hour they were two-up through Tiago Pinto, served by Adrien Silva. On 58 minutes, Yazalde made it three after a pass from Bura, but Switzerland pulled one back five minutes from time through Djuric.

The teams lined up:

Portugal: Ventura (Trigueira 87), João Gonçalves (André Pinto 46), Daniel Carriço (Bura 46), Miguel Vítor, Tiago Pinto (Igor Pita 59), Stélvio Cruz, Pereirinha, Adrien Silva (Ruben Lima 78), Amaury Bischoff (Rui Pedro 59), Yazalde (João Aurélio 87), Ukra (Licá, 46).

Switzerland: Yann Sommer (Kevin Fickentscher 73), Mihael Kovacevic (Gaetano Berardi 46), Jonathan Rossini, Rolf Feltscher (Djuric Igor 46), Jonas Elmer (Daniel Pavlovic 46), Xavier Hochstrasser, Adrian Nikci (Frank Feltscher 46), Fabien Frei, Valentin Stocker, Simone Grippo (Adilson Tavares 70), Alessandro Ciarocchi (Mário Gavranovic 75).

06/02/09

Carlos Queiroz called up three debutants to the squad to face Finland in a friendly in the Algarve on Wednesday, 11 February: defender Gonçalo Brandão of Siena, midfielder Eliseu of Málaga and Orlando Sá of Sporting Braga.

The full squad:

Goalpkeepers: Daniel Fernandes (Bochum, Germany), Eduardo (Sporting Braga).

Defenders: Bruno Alves and Rolando (FC Porto), Gonçalo Brandão (Siena, Italy), Pepe (Real Madrid, Spain), Miguel (Valência, Spain), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea, England).

Midfielders: Deco (Chelsea, England), João Moutinho (Sporting), Maniche (Atlético Madrid, Spain), Raúl Meireles (FC Porto), Duda and Eliseu (Málaga, Spain), Tiago (Juventus, Italy).

Forwards: Danny (Zenit, Russia), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen, Germany), Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, England), Orlando Sá (Sporting Braga).

 

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