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UEFA Nations League: Portugal squad for knockout stages announced; Andre Gomes and Renato Sanches omitted

ANALYST
News
23 May 2019, 17:40 IST

Portugal Euro 2016 Victory Parade
Portugal Euro 2016 Victory Parade

What's the story?

Portugal manager Fernando Santos has announced a 23-member squad for the UEFA Nations League knockout stages.

The Cristiano Ronaldo-led side begin with their semifinal clash against Switzerland. As hosts, Portugal will look to add to the silverware they won at Euro 2016, by being inaugural winners of the Nations League.

The major names that missed out on making the team are Leicester City's Ricardo Pereira, Sevilla's Andre Silva. Everton's Andre Gomes and Inter Milan's Cedric Soares. Uncapped SL Benfica youngster Joao Felix has also been included.

In case you didn't know...

The Cristiano Ronaldo-lead side dominated Group 3 of League A in UEFA Nations League group stages, which also contained Italy and Poland. Portugal defeated Italy 1-0 at home and won against Poland 3-2 in the away leg to finish as Group winners, thereby qualifying for the semi-finals.

They will face a Xherdan Shaqiri-led Switzerland side who topped Group 2 in League A, which also contained Belgium and Iceland. The other semifinal will see the Virgil van Dijk-led Netherlands face Harry Kane's England.

The heart of the matter

Fernando Santos has gone for a tried and tested set of players, going for the experience of ex-Real Madrid man Pepe in defense, alongwith former Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte.

Out of the in-form Wolverhampton Wanderers' Portuguese contingent, Diogo Jota, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho have made the squad while Helder Costa was omitted. Sevilla striker Andre Silva and Bayern Munich midfielder Renato Sanches were omitted after largely being confined to bench roles at their respective clubs.

Andre Gomes of Everton was left out in favour of 24-year-old Bruno Fernandes of Sporting Lisbon, who has set the Portuguese league on fire this season, becoming the highest-scoring Portuguese midfielder in a single season of all time, with 31 goals to his name.

Manchester City player of the season Bernardo Silva will lead the midfield for Portugal while Leicester City's player of the season Ricardo Pereira was omitted in favour of Barcelona right back Nelson Semedo. UEFA 2016 hero Eder was also left out after having a mediocre season with Lokomotiv Moscow.

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Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Jose Sa (Olympiacos), Beto (Goztepe)

Defenders: Pepe (FC Porto), Nelson Semedo (FC Barcelona), Mario Rui (Napoli), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Joao Cancelo (Juventus), Ruben Dias (SL Benfica), Jose Fonte (Lille)

Midfielders: Joao Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Danilo Pereira (FC Porto), William Carvalho (Real Betis), Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Pizzi (SL Benfica), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon),

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia CF), Rafa Silva (SL Benfica), Dyego Sousa (SC Braga), Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Joao Felix (SL Benfica)

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