Former goalkeeper and captain of FC Porto, and now the club's international representative, Vítor Baía, has said on the FIFA website that he feels sad that after 2002 he was never called up by the now Portugal coach Luíz Felipe Scolari.
"I feel sad about the way my international career ended. I played 80 times for Portugal, but after the 2002 World Cup, I was removed from the Selecção, with no explanation from the coach. It's a little strange because I was voted the best 'keeper in Europe in the 2003/04 season, and just days before the squad for Euro-2004 was announced I was part of the team that won the Portuguese title and the Champions League. Even so, I wasn't called up. In my opinion, no country should exclude from its national team the best 'keeper in Europe, but that's what happened to me. But looking back, I sincerely believe that the Selecção lost more than I did, although it was an enormous disappointment for me to miss the European Championship hosted by my country.
Neuchatel will host the Selecção at next year's Euro 2008 Championship. The team will be lodged at the 5-star Beau-Rivage Hotel on the banks of Lake Neuchatel, while the squad's training sessions will take place at the Stade du Litoral, in Colombier, and at the Complexe de football du Chanet, in Neuchatel.
Portugal are in Group A, and play Turkey (7 June, Geneva), the Czech Republic (11 June, Geneva) and Switzerland (15 June, Basle).
National Team Coach Luíz Felipe Scolari told the Brazilian daily Estado de São Paulo on Friday that he will not stay on beyond the end of his contract, i.e. 31 July 2008. "We're not even going to discuss renewal", he said. He also said that he may work for a European club, but said that no concrete contacts had been made yet.
Portugal will play Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Albania and Malta in Group 1 of the qualifying phase of the 2010 World Cup, to be played in South Africa. The top teams in the nine groups will qualify automatically, while the eight best second teams will play off to find the other four from Europe.
Portugal are in the Euro 2008 finals after they got the point they needed in a 0-0 draw with Finland at Porto's Dragão Stadium Wednesday. Finland's 'keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen was in great form, but it was another unremarkanble performance from the Selecção after the meagre win over Armenia at the weekend. The result was what mattered on the night, however, and the 'Equipa das Quinas' go to Austria/Switzerland next summer.
The Finland game saw the début of Brazilian-born but recently naturalised central defender Pepe, now of Real Madrid. He was the 35th player used by coach Luíz Felipe Scolari during this qualification phase.
The other Group A results were:
Armenia 0-1 Cazaquistão
Azerbaijan 0-1 Belgium
Serbia 2-2 Poland
Poland qualify with Portugal as Group leaders. They finished with 28 points, one ahead of Portugal, who edged out Finland on 24.
The draw for the groups at next summer's tournament will be made on 2 December. Portugal will be in the third pot for the draw, thus avoiding Germany, Spain and Romania:
Portugal are within one point of qualifying for Euro 2008 after beating Armenia 1-0 Saturday. It was a poor performance from Portugal and drew whistlles from the 22,000 in the Leiria Municipal Stadium, but the win, thanks to a Hugo Almeida header from a Bosingwa cross on 42 minutes, was priceless.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Ricardo, Bosingwa, Fernando Meira, Bruno Alves, Caneira; Miguel Veloso, Maniche; Simão (Nani 77), Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida (Makukula 68), Ricardo Quaresma (Manuel Fernandes 60).
Armenia: Berezovski, Hovsepyan, Arzumanyan, Dokhoyan, Tadevosyan, Pcahjyan, Voskanyan, Arakelyan, Karamyan (Mkrtchyan 76), Khachatryan (Mkhitaryan 59), Melkonyan (Manucharyan 63)
In Portugal's final game, for which coach Luís Felipe Scolari will be back on the bench following his ban, they will need only to draw against Finland, who also have a chance, along with Serbia, of qualifying. Poland are already through following their 2-0 win over Belgium.
Other results in Group A:
Finland 2 – 1 Azerbaijan
Serbia – Kazakhstan (postponed to 24/11 due to fog)
The Group A table looks like this:
1 Poland 27 points/ 13 games (qualified)
2 Portugal 26/ 13
3 Finland 23/ 13
4 Serbia 20/ 12
5 Belgium 15/ 13
6 Armenia 9/ 11
7 Kazakhstan 7/ 12
8 Azerbaijan 5/ 11
National coach Luíz Felipe Scolari has been fined 35,000 euros by the Portuguese Football Federation following the incident in the recent Portugal v Serbia Euro 2008 qualifier in which Scolari appeared to hit Serbian defender Dragutinovic. The Brazilian coach was banned for three months by UEFA.
Portugal made it two out of two on their trip to the far estern reaches of Europe Wednesday, beating Kazakhstan 2-1. The first half saw Portugal with most possession and chances, with the home side creating few difficulties. In the second, Kazakhstan focussed on defending, and it was becoming difficult for Portugal to make headway. Then coach Flávio Teixeira (Scolari is currently banned) brought on Nani and debutant Makukula, who opened the scoring on 81 minutes after a cross from Ricardo Quaresma. On 90, came Portugal's second, Nani crossing from the elft this time for Cristiano Ronaldo to score. Byakov with a header pulled one back for Kazakhstan in added time.
The teams lined up:
Kazakhstan: Loria, Smakov, Kuchma, Zhalmagambetov, Irismetov, Karpovitch (Nurdauletov 88), Baltic; Larin (Lyapkin, 35), Zhumaskaliyev, Skorykh, Ostapenko.
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Paulo Ferreira, Maniche (Nani 59), Miguel Veloso, Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida (Makukula 62), Quaresma (João Moutinho 83).
In other games in Group A, Serbia won 6-1 in Azerbaijan while Belgium received and beat Armenia 3-0. Portugal's remaining games in Group A are at home to Armenia and Finland.
1 Polónia, 12 games/24 points
2 PORTUGAL, 12/23
3 Sérvia, 12/20
4 Finlândia, 12/20
5 Bélgica, 12/15
6 Arménia, 10/9
7 Cazaquistão, 12/7
8 Azerbaijão, 10/5
Portugal got back to their winning ways Saturday with a 2-0 win in Azerbaijan. Ultimately, the task was an easy one, especially when the Azeri's captain Karimov was sent off on 26 minutes for a flagrant elbow into Cristiano Ronaldo's face on the touchline. Portugal were already in front, central defender Bruno Alves rising to head home a Deco corner, his first goal for the Selecção. Deco hit the post on 38 minutes, but it was Hugo Almeida who got the second, throwing himself to connect with a Miguel cross from the right to score from close past Valiyez, Azerbaijan's best player. It was also Alemida's first goal for the 'A' team.
The second half was taken at a stroll, although Azerbaijan had several half-chances which, had they gone in, would have complicated matters for Portugal. But their control was virtually complete, and Cristiano Ronaldo also hit the post later on. Nuno Gomes, on the team list, was injured during the warm-up.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel (Jorge Ribeiro 74), Bruno Alves, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Miguel Veloso, Deco, Maniche; Ricardo Quaresma (Nani 69), Hugo Almeida, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Azerbaijan: Farhad Valiyev, Aslan Karimov, Sasha Yuinisoglu, Samir Abason, Elvin Aliyev, Aleksander Chertaganov, Ilgar Gurbanov (Mammadov 55), Emin Guliyev, Emin Imamaliyev (Zaur Hashimov 5), Samir Aliyev (Ismayilov 72), Branimir Subashich.
Portugal U-21s lost their first qualifier Friday, 0-1 in Bulgaria. The deciding goal came from a penalty on 42 minutes, João Pedro bringing Domovchiyski down. The same player got up to hit the ball past Ricardo Baptista.
The teams lined up:
Bulgária: Mihaylov, Bandalovski, Ivanov, Bodurov, Fidanin, Bozhinov, Petrov (Starkin 75), Gadjev, Popov, Domovchiyski (Kurdov 78), Dimitrov (Blatenov 91)
Portugal: Ricardo Baptista, Vasco Fernandes, Nuno André Coelho, João Pedro, Antunes, Paulo Machado, Pelé, João Coimbra (Nuno Coelho 58); Vieirinha, João Moreira (Cícero 66), Yannick (Hélder Barbosa 75)
The result leaves Portugal on six points in Group A. They could be overtaken if England beat Montenegro this weekend, the team that Portugal meet next Tuesday.
Luíz Felipe Scolari has named his squad for the upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers against Azerbaijan (13/10) and Kazakhstan (17/10). Duda, Miguel Veloso, Tonel and Ricardo Carvalho return. Out are Jorge Andrade, Caneira, Petit, Hélder Postiga, João Tomás and Pepe (all injured) and Tiago..
The squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Ricardo (Bétis), Quim (Benfica);
Defenders: Miguel (Valência), Bosingwa and Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Fernando Meira (Stuttgart), Tonel (Sporting).
Midfielders: Raul Meireles (FC Porto), Miguel Veloso and João Moutinho (Sporting), Maniche (Atlético de Madrid), Duda (Sevilla), Deco (Barcelona).
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani (Manchester United), Simão (Atlético de Madrid), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Nuno Gomes (Benfica), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen)
After a hearing in Nyon, Switzerland, UEFA have changed Scolari's suspension for hitting the Serbian player Dragutinovic in the recent qualifier. Originally four games, it is now three months, with the third being suspended for two years. It means that Scolari can sit on the bench for the possibly vital final qualifying game against Finland: the suspension ends on 20 November, on the eve of the Finland game at Porto's Dragão stadium. He will miss the games against Azerbaijan (13/10), Kazakhstan (17/10) and Armenia (17/10). Through his lawyer, Scolari argued that he was only reacting to verbal abuse by the player, and that the punch he threw did not actually make contact.
Rui Caçador has called up Mário Felgueiras, Mano, Celestino João Pedro, Nuno Coelho and Feliciano Condensso to the U-21s for the upcoming Euro 2009 qualifiers in Bulgária (12/10) and Montenegro (16/10). Manuel da Costa (PSV) and Manuel Fernandes (Valência), both with physical problems, are missing, as is Miguel Veloso, who steps up to the senior squad
The squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Ricardo Batista (Fulham), Mário Felgueiras (Portimonense)
Defenders: João Pedro (Penafiel), Nuno André Coelho (Portimonense), Gonçalo Brandão and Mano (Belenenses), Vasco Fernandes (Salamanca), Antunes (AS Roma)
Midfielders: Nuno Coelho (Portimonense), Pelé (Inter Milan), Paulo Machado (Leixões), João Coimbra (Nacional), Celestino (Estoril), Feliciano Condesso (Villarreal), Hélder Barbosa (Académica), Vieirinha (Leixões), Targino (Vitória de Guimarães)
Forwards: Cícero (Dynamo Mosco), João Moreira (Nacional), Yannick (Sporting).
Portugal failed to get a valauble three points from the vist of Group A qualification rivals Poland in front of around 50,000 at the Luz. It took Portugal 26 minutes to put in a decent shot (Nuno Gomes), while Cristiano Ronaldo hit the bar from a free-kick a mionute later. But it was Lewandowski who put Poland in front on the break a minute from half time.
Portugal stepped up a gear in the second half, and Maniche, re-called after 11 months' absence, equalised four minutes in, and Cristiano Ronaldo knocked in a loose ball on 72 minutes. But Portugal let their giuard slip, and three minutes from time, Krzynowek shot from way out, the ball hit the post and went in off Ricardo's back. A stroke of bad luck at the curtain and two points lost.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Ricardo, Bosingwa, Fernando Meira, Bruno Alves, Caneira (Miguel 12), Petit, Deco, Maniche, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nuno Gomes (Quaresma 69), Simão (João Moutinho 81)
Poland: Boruc, Jop, Bronowicki (Golanski 55), Dudka, Wasilewski, Zewlakow, Blaszczykowski, Lewandowski, Krzynowek, Zurawski (Matusiak 56), Smolarek (Lobodzinski 73)
Luíz Felipe Scolari named his squad Thursday for the upcoming EURO 2008 qualifiers against Poland (8 September in the Luz) and Serbia (12 September in Alvalade). Noteworthy was the fist call-up for Real Madrid central defender Pepe, who was born Brazilian but recently gained Portuguese citizenship, but then he was injured in training wih his club and had to drop out. Atlético Madrid midfielder Maniche returns. Out go Sporting midfielder Miguel Veloso and Sporting Braga striker João Tomás.
Quim - Benfica
Ricardo - Bétis
Bruno Alves - FC Porto
Fernando Meira - Stuttgart
Jorge Andrade - Juventus
Bosingwa - FC Porto
Pepe - Real Madrid
Miguel - Valencia
Caneira - Valencia
Paulo Ferreira - Chelsea
Deco - Barcelona
Petit - Benfica
João Moutinho - Sporting
Maniche - Atlético Madrid
Raúl Meireles - FC Porto
Tiago - Juventus FC
Hélder Postiga - FC Porto
Hugo Almeida - Werder Bremen
Nani - Manchester United
Nuno Gomes - Benfica
Ricardo Quaresma - FC Porto
Simão Sabrosa - Atlético de Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United
Rui Caçador called up Miguel Veloso and Manuel Fernandes for the upcoming U-21 European Championship qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland (away) on 07 September and Montenegro on 11 September (home)
Ricardo Batista - Fulham
Rui Patrício - Sporting
Vasco Fernandes - Olhanense
Manuel da Costa - PSV
Nuno André Coelho - Portimonense
Gonçalo Brandão - Belenenses
Antunes - Roma
Manuel Fernandes - Valencia
Miguel Veloso - Sporting
Paulo Machado - Leixões
João Coimbra - Nacional
Vitor Gomes - Rio Ave
Pereirinha - Sporting
Pelé - Inter Milan
Vieirinha - Leixões
João Moreira - Nacional
Yannick - Sporting
Hélder Barbosa - Académica
Fábio Coentrão - Benfica
Cícero - Dynamo Moscow
Portuguese Football Federation president Gilberto Madaíl has confirmed that National coach Luíz Felipe Scolari can go ahead and select Real Madrid's 'Brazilian' central defender Pepe, who has just received Portuguese citizenship. The move may prove controversial with the public, although the Selecção already has a Luso-Brazilian, Deco, as a regular. "Pepe has been authorised to be pre-selected. We have to know how to live in the world we have, whether we agree with it or not." Madaíl said.
Portugal did themselves no favours Wednesday by drawing 1-1 in Armenia, dropping two points in the race to qualify for Euro 2008. Armenia, on an atrocious pitch and surprising Portugal with their exuberance, went in front on 11 minutes with a free header in front of goal by Arzumanyan, who beat the offside trap. On 36 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo produced a typical bit of genius to take the ball goalwards from the right and beat the 'keeper from an acute angle when everyone was expecting a cross. it was his 18th goal for his country. Portugal produced a better display in the second half, but it was not until the dying minutes that their best chance appeared, Bruno Alves heading wide.
The teams lined up:
Armenia: Berezovsky, Hovsepyan, Arzumanyan, Tadevosyan, Mkrtchyan (Ghazaryan 58), Pachajyan, Voskanyan, Arakelyan, Karamyan (Melikyan 69), Mkhitanyan, Melkonyan
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Fernando Meira, Jorge Andrade (Bruno Alves 75), Paulo Ferreira, Tiago, Raul Meireles, Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hélder Postiga (Nuno Gomes 60), Simão (Ricardo Quaresma 62).
The lost points make Portugal's quest for qualification harder, especially since Finland beat Kazakhstan 2-1 to leap-frog over Portugal into second place in Group A, although Portugal have a game in hand. The only good news was Serbia´s 2-3 defeat in Belgium.
1. Poland, 9 games/19 points
2. Finland, 9/17
3. PORTUGAL, 8/15
4. Serbia, 7/14
5. Armenia, 8/8
6. Belgium, 8/7
7. Kazakhstan, 9/6
8. Azerbaijan, 9/5
Portugal U-21s beat Malta 3-0 in a friendly Tuesday. João Moreira put Portugal in front on 17 minutes, João Coimbra and Nuno Coelho adding goals in the second half. It was Rui Caçador's first game in charge after the sacking of José Couceiro.
Portugal lined up:
Ricardo Batista (Rui Patrício, 46 m); Gilberto (Vítor Gomes, 46 m), Vasco Fernandes, Nuno Coelho e Antunes (Gonçalo Brandão, 66 m); Stélvio, Bruno Pereirinha (Yannick, 58 m), Paulo Machado (João Coimbra, 46 m); Vieirinha (Daniel Carriço, 83 m), João Moreira e Nani (Hélder Barbosa, 66 m).
Portugal have dropped two places to tenth in the FIFA rankings. The list is headed by Brazil:
9. Czech Republic
National Team coach Luíz Felipe Scolari has named his squad for the upcoming Euro 2008 qualifier against Armenia (22 August). A highlight is the inclusion for the first time of Sporting's young midfield revelation Miguel Veloso, given a chance because of the suspension of Benfica midfielder Petit.
The full squad:
Goalkeepers: Ricardo (Bétis), Quim (Benfica)
Defesnders: Bosingwa (FC Porto), Miguel (Valência), Fernando Meira (Stuttgart), Jorge Andrade (Juventus), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Caneira (Valência), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Raul Meireles (FC Porto), Tiago (Juventus), João Moutinho (Sporting), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Deco (Barcelona), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Simão (Atlético Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Forwards: Hélder Postiga (FC Porto), João Tomás (Sporting Braga), Nuno Gomes (Benfica).
U-21 coach Rui Caçador has called up 20 players for the upcoming friendly with Malta (21 August), including Manchester United forward Nani. Caçador recently took over from José Couceiro, sacked after poor perfomances by the U-21 and U-20 sides.
Académica: Hélder Barbosa;
Belenenses: Gonçalo Brandão;
Bolton Wanderers (England): Vaz Té;
Fulham (England): Ricardo Batista;
Leixões: Paulo Machado and Vieirinha;
Manchester United (England): Nani;
Nacional: João Coimbra and João Moreira;
Olhanense: Daniel Carriço and Vasco Fernandes;
PSV Eindhoven (Holland): Manuel da Costa;
Paços de Ferreira: Antunes;
Portimonense: Nuno André Coelho;
Rio Ave: Vítor Gomes;
Sporting Braga: Stélvio Cruz;
Sporting: Bruno Pereirinha, Rui Patrício and Yannick;
Werder Bremen (Germany): Amaury Bischoff.
Real Madrid central defender Pepe, transferred from FC Porto for 30 million euros in this close season, has reiterated that he wants to play for Portugal. "Even if I'm called up for Brazil, I will always opt for Portugal", said the Brazilian, who has dual nationality. Pepe has impressed with his first performances for the Spanish Champions.
Coach José Couceiro, in charge of the recent disasters that were Portugal's showing the U-21 European Championship and the U-20 World Cup, has been sacked by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF). Zequinha and Mano, sent off in the last game of the U-20 World Cup against Chile, have been banned by the FPF for 12 and three months respectively. The former grabbed the red card out of the referee's hand as he was sending off the latter for striking an opponent.
Brazilian central defender Pepe, who will soon be granted dual nationality (Brazilian/Portuguese), has reiterated to the Spanish press that he wants to play for Portugal.
Portugal U-20s bowed ignominiously out of the World Cup in Canada with a 0-1 defeat to Chile in the last 16. If the defeat wasn't enough, Portugal had two players sent off in the dying minutes, one of them, Zequinha, for snatching the red card, shown to Mano for hitting an opponent, out of the referee's hand. Portugal won just one of their four games at the championship.
Portugal U-21s failed even to qualify for the Olympic Games Thursday, beaten by Italy on penalties after the game had finished 0-0. In a disappointing Europen Championship, Portugal's final 4-0 win over Israel was not enough to get them through to the semi-final stages after drawing with Belgium and losing to Holland. The Italy game was the last chance to salvage something from the Dutch experience, but it was not to be.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Paulo Ribeiro, João Pereira (Yannick 106), Manuel da Costa (Rolando 85), Semedo, Antunes, João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Manuel Fernandes, Varela, Vaz Tê (João Moreira 70), Nani.
Italy: Viviano, Motta, Andreolli, Chiellini, Criscito, Motolivo, Nocerino, Aquilani, Rosina, Pazzini (Pelle 54), Rossi (Palladino 61).
Coach José Couceiro has been banned for one game after being sent off during Portugal's 1-2 defeat to Holland at the U-21 European Championship.
Captain Hugo Almeida has voiced fears that Holland will play for a draw with Belgium on Saturday, leaving Portugal out of the competition.
Portugal drew their first game in the U-21 European Championship in Holland Sunday, 0-0 against Belgium. Portugal started and finished better, but Belgium were the more consistently solid.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Paulo Ribeiro, Filipe Oliveira, Semedo, Manuel da Costa, José Gonçalves (Antunes 56), Manuel Fernandes, Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho (Ruben Amorim 84) Yannick (Varela 65), Hugo Almeida, Nani.
Belgium: Bailly, De Roover, Lombaersts, Vermaelen, Pocognoli, Vanden Borre (Overmeire 89), Fellaini, Vertonghen, Blondel (De Mul 75), Martens (Haroun 86) Milallas.
In the other game in Group A, hosts Holland beat Israel 1-0. Portugal play Holland on Wednesday.
The Portuguese contingent's return to the hotel was delayed after the Dutch driver of their coach crashed into a lamp-post during a tricky manoeuvre. No one was hurt.
Portugal missed out on third place in the Toulon Tournament Saturday, going down to Ivory Coast 4-5 on penalties after the game had finished 0-0.
Portugal were eliminated at the semi-final stage of the Toulon Tournament Thursday, losing 0-1 to France. Kevin Gameiro got the goal on 28 minutos. Portugal were unable to capitalise on the sending-off of Yassin Moutaouakil a quarter of an hour from the end.
The teams lined up:
France: Geoffrey Jourdren, Yassin Moutaouakil, Mohamed Chakouri, Cyriaque Louvion, Thomas Mangani, Ricardo Faty, Youssouf Mulumbu, Romain Danze, Alexandre Bonnet, Loic Remy (Jonathan Lacourt 81), Kevin Gameiro (Abdoulrazak Boukari 62)
Portugal: Mário Felgueiras, Vítor Gomes (Tiago H. Gomes 59), Nuno Coelho, Vasco Fernandes, Mano, Pele, Celestino (Ivanildo 65), Zezinando, Tiago Targino (João Pedro 51), Bruno Gama, Guedes
Portugal drew 1-1 in Kuwait Tuesday in what was ultimately a rather meaningless friendly. João Tomás, returning to the side after six years, got the Portuguese goal on 72 minutes, while Suleimane equalised for Kuwait from a free-kick near the end. The Portuguese Football Federation earned around one million euros from the trip to the Middle East.
Portugal lined up:
Quim (Daniel Fernandes, 66), Bosingwa, Bruno Alves, Fernando Meira (Jorge Andrade, 46), Paulo Ferreira (Antunes, 63), Raul Meireles, Tiago (Petit, 46), Deco (Hugo Viana, 46), Nani (Duda, 46), Quaresma e Hélder Postiga (João Tomás, 46).
Portugal beat Belgium 2-1 Saturday to equal Serbia in Group A of the Euro 2008 qualifiers, four points behind Poland but with a game in hand.
Portugal had more possession and more chances, but until the hour mark it was all level on the scoreboard. Just before the break, Nani had made room for himself on the edge of the area to clip a shot inside Stijnen's near post. Ten minutes into the second half, Belgium equalised from a header by Fellaini, with the Portuguese defence all at sea. But a blistering shot from Hélder Postiga on 64 minutes decided the game and gave Portugal a precious three points. The sending off of sub Hugo Almeida for a reckless challenge on the halfway line, in added time, was in the end a by-line.
The teams lined up:
Belgium: Stijnen; Hoefkens (De Man 47), Simons, Clement, Vermaelen, Defour, Mudingayi (Geraerts 76), Fellaini, Vertonghen, Sterchele (De Mul 61), Emile Mpenza
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel (Bosingwa 53), Fernando Meira, Jorge Andrade, Paulo Ferreira, Tiago, Petit, Quaresma, Deco, Nani (Duda 86), Hélder Postiga (Hugo Almeida 79)
Group A table:
1 Polónia - played 8/19 points
2 Serbia 7/14
3 Portugal 7/14
4 Finland 7/11
5 Belgium 7/7
6 Kazakhstan 7/5
7 Armenia 6/4
8 Azerbaijan 7/4
Kazakhstan 1-2 Armenia
Azerbaijan 1-3 Polónia
Finland 0-2 Serbia
Belgium 1-2 Portugal
National team coach Luíz Felipe Scolari has denied that there have been negotiations for him to take over at Chelsea, suggested by the English press. "It's shooting season – you take a shot and sometimes you get one, other times you don't," he said.
National coach Luíz Felipe Scolari has named his squad for the upcoming games against Belgium (Euro 2008 qualifier) and Kuwait (friendly). The main novelties are the call-up of Bruno Alves and Bosingwa (both of FC Porto), Duda (Sevilla) and veteran João Tomás (Al-Rayyan).
Goalkeepers: Daniel Fernandes (PAOK), Ricardo (Sporting) and Quim (Benfica);
Defenders: Bruno Alves (F.C. Porto), Bosingwa (F.C. Porto), Fernando Meira (Stuttgart), Jorge Andrade (Deportivo la Coruña) Miguel (Valência), Caneira (Sporting) and Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea);
Midfielders: Deco (Barcelona), Petit (Benfica), Hugo Viana (Valência), João Moutinho (Sporting), Raul Meireles (F.C. Porto), Duda (Seville) and Tiago (Lyon);
Forwards: Ricardo Quaresma (F.C. Porto), Nani (Sporting), Hélder Postiga (F.C. Porto), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen) and João Tomás (Al-Rayyan).
U-21 coach José Couceiro has named his squad for the European Championship:
Bolton Wanderers: Vaz Té;
Santa Clara. João Botelho;
Estrela da Amadora: Amoreirinha;
Belenenses: Rolando and Ruben Amorim;
Marítimo: Filipe Oliveira;
Everton: Manuel Fernandes;
Paços de Ferreira: Antunes;
F.C. Porto: Paulo Ribeiro;
Fulham: Ricardo Batista;
Gil Vicente: João Pereira;
Hearts: José Gonçalves;
PSV Eindhoven: Manuel da Costa;
Sporting: João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Nani and Yannick;
Werder Bremen: Hugo Almeida;
União de Leiria: Paulo Machado;
Valência: João Moreira;
Vitória de Setúbal: Varela.
Luíz Felipe Scolari has told a Brazilian newspaper that he intends to leave the job of Portugal coach after the Euro 2008 Championship. Speaking in the Estado de São Paulo, he said: "After five and a half years and having renewed the squad, managed all the possible qualifications, played in two European Championship and a World Cup, i think it's time for a change of coach. A coach has to stay with a club or national team at the most three or four years. Change is normal." The Brazilian press are suggesting he may take over the Brazilian national team, but working from Europe.
In front of 54,000 in Belgrade, Portugal drew 1-1 against Serbia Wednesday in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. Scolari replaced Quaresma with Simão from the side that beat Belgium 4-0 at the weekend, and they got off to an excellent start with an excellent goal from the excellent Tiago, Portugal's Man of the Match along with Petit; he received a lay-off from Nuno Gomes 25 metres out, looked up, saw Stojkovic off his line and chipped in over his head. But then came the storm, Serbia replying with everything they had, and Portugal were reeling for the next 20 minutes, unable to create any passing movements or danger around the Serbia goal. Meanwhile, the Serbs won several corners that produced frissons in the Portuguese defence, dealt with until the 36th minute when yet another corner from Stankovic on the right was met by Jankovic, thundering in unmarked, and the midfielder crashed home his header.
Portugal were much more in control in the second half, Ricardo hardly troubled, while in the other goal, Stojkovic made a series of superb saves to keep Portugal out.
The teams lined up:
Serbia: Stojkovic, Tosic (Lazovic 83), Vidic, Dragutinovic, Krstajic, Duljai, Jankovic (Koroman 67), Krasic, Stankovic (Markovic 77), Pantelic, Kovacevic.
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel (Marco Caneira 71), Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Petit, João Moutinho (Raul Meireles 76), Tiago, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nuno Gomes ( Ricardo Quaresma 81), Simão.
Portugal are joined in Group A by Serbia and Finland (beaten by Azerbaijan) on 11 points, two behind Poland (who beat Armenia).
After a splendid first 20 minutes against Belgium in front of 50,000 at Alvalade, Portugal got into a bit of a hole, and facing a team that always had ten men behind the ball, it looked like it might be a frustrating night for the Portuguese in this Euro 2008 qualifier.
But in a two-minute spell early in the second half, the game was as good as done and dusted. On 52 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo combined well with João Moutinho on the right, and the diminutive Sporting midfielder crossed low for Nuno Gomes to swivel and knock home. On 54, Ricardo Quaresma put in a deceptive cross from the right that Stijnen misjudged and there was Cristiano Ronaldo to head in at the back post. Portugal weren't quite out of the woods, and Sterchele missed an open goal that might have complicated matters, but on 68 minutes came the moment of the game and the penultimate nail in Belgium's coffin: Ricardo Quaresma beat his marker on the right and curled an exquisite shot inside the far post with the outside of his right boot – his trademark trivela . He was substituted almost immediately to a much-deserved standing ovation.
Belgium struggled gamely on, but they were poor up front and rarely troubled Ricardo. Then a quarter of an hour from the end, Cristiano Ronaldo made space for himself on the edge of the box to put a dipping shot past Stijnen's left hand. It was the perfect riposte to Stijnen's provocative comments earlier in the week, and Portugal had three ultimately comfortable points in the bag.
The teams lined up:
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Andrade, Paulo Ferreira, João Moutinho, Petit (Fernando Meira 76), Tiago; Quaresma (Nani 69), Nuno Gomes, Cristiano Ronaldo (Hugo Viana 78).
Belgium: Stijnen, Hoefkens (Sterchele 65), Clement, Van Buyten, Van der Hayden, Fellaini, Mudingayi, De Man, Defour, Martens (Chatelle 56), Mbo Mpenza (Van Damme 80).
In the other Group A games, Portugal benefited from Serbia's 1-2 defeat at Kazakhstan – Portugal meet the Serbs on Wednesday – but Poland went top of the group with a resounding 5-0 win at home to Azerbaijan.
Group A Table:
1. Poland 6 games/13 points
2. Finland 5/11
3. Portugal 5/10
4. Serbia 5/10
5. Belgium 6/7
6. Kazakhstan 6/5
7. Armenia 4/1
8. Azerbaijan 5/1
Portugal's U-21s beat Slovakia 2-0 in a friendly in Lisbon Friday, the goals coming from Ricardo Vaz Tê and Miguel Veloso.
Midfielder Deco will miss both of Portugal's upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers due to a hand injury he sustained playing for Barcelona. Simão will miss the first, against Belgium, through suspension.
The Portuguese Football Federation is giving away 500 tickets to the homeless for Saturday's Euro 2008 qualifier between Portugal and Belgium at Alvalade. And on Wednesday, representatives from the squad will help to plant trees in a park in Lisbon to commemorate World Tree Day.
Luíz Felipe Scolari named his squad Friday for the upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers against Begium (home, 24/03) and Serbia (away, 28/03). Costinha and Maniche remain out. Portugal are fourth in Group A.
Goalkeepers: Ricardo (Sporting), Daniel Fernandes (PAOK)
Defenders: Miguel (Valência), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Fernando Meira (Stuttgart), Jorge Andrade (Deportivo), Caneira (Sporting), Manuel da Costa (PSV), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Tiago (Lyon), Petit (Benfica), Hugo Viana (Valência), Deco (Barcelona), João Moutinho (Sporting), Raul Meireles (FC Porto)
Forwards: Simão (Benfica), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Quaresma (FC Porto), Nuno Gomes (Benfica), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Nani (Sporting), Hélder Postiga (FC Porto).
1. Finland, played 5/11 points
2. Poland, 5/10
3. Serbia, 4/10
4. PORTUGAL, 4/7
5. Belgium, 5/7
6. Kazakhstan 5/2
7. Armenia, 4/1
8. Azerbaijan, 4/1
The Euro 2008 Qualifying Group A game Portugal v Belgium will be played on 24 March at Sporting's Alvalade Stadium, kick-off at 21.00. Portugal are fourth in Group A, with seven points from four games.
Portugal's U-21s learned Tuesday who thy will be up against in the qualifying stage of Euro 2009. The draw gave them the following games:
07.09.2007 - Republic of Ireland v Portugal
11.09.2007 - Portugal v Montenegro
12.10.2007 - Bulgaria v Portugal
16.10.2007 - Montenegro v Portugal
20.11.2007 - Portugal v England
25.03.2008 - Portugal v Bulgaria
05.09.2008 - England v Portugal
09.09.2008 - Portugal v Republic of Ireland.
There were around 60,000 at Arsenal's Emirates stadium Tuesday to see Portugal beat the mighty Brazil (2-0) for the second time during Luíz Felipe Scolari's reign as coach of the Portuguese national team. Brazil were weakened by the absence of Ronadinho, Ronaldo, plus all the players of the Escrete playing in Brazil, and the game never really lived up to its billing as the Real Brazil versus the European version. Lúcio hit the bar in the first half for Brazil but it was Portugal who proved lethal in the last ten minutes with almost carbon copy goals that were as much the fruit of slack defending as Portuguese talent. On 82, Ricardo Quaresma floated over a cross from the right which fell to Simão, who swivelled and found the bottom right-hand corner with his right foot. A minute from time, it was Hugo Viana supplying the cross and Ricardo Carvalho repeating Simão's feat.
The result will be a boost for morale ahead of Portugal's upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers against Belgium and Serbia.
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho (Fernando Meira 90), Jorge Andrade, Marco Caneira (Paulo Ferreira 46), Tiago (João Moutinho 66), Petit, Deco (Hugo Viana 60), Quaresma, Cristiano Ronaldo (Simão Sabrosa 63), Hélder Postiga (Nuno Gomes 74).
Brazil: Helton, Maicon (Daniel Alves 61), Juan (Luisão 46), Lúcio, Gilberto, Elano, Edmilson (Tinga 61), Gilberto Silva, Kaká, Rafael Sóbis (Adriano 46), Fred (Diego 68).
Luíz Felipe Scolari announced his squad Thursday to play Brazil on 6 February at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London, sold out for the game. Costinha and Maniche of Atlético Madrid were once again left out. Daniel Fernandes (PAOK), Nélson (Benfica), Tonel (Sporting) and Carlos Martins (Sporting) are also missing from the last squad.
Goalkeepers: Ricardo (Sporting), Quim (Benfica)
Defenders: Miguel (Valência), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Fernando Meira (Stuttgart), Jorge Andrade (Deportivo la Coruña), Caneira (Sporting), Manuel da Costa (PSV), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Tiago (Lyon), Petit (Benfica), Hugo Viana (Valência), Deco (Barcelona), João Moutinho (Sporting), Raúl Meireles (F.C. Porto)
Forwards: Simão (Benfica), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Quaresma (F.C. Porto), Nuno Gomes (Benfica), Hélder Postiga (F.C. Porto).
U-21 coach José Couceiro has also announced his squad for the Tagus Valley Tournament, to be played between 6 and 8 February:
Goalkeepers: Paulo Ribeiro (F.C. Porto), Ricardo Batista (Fulham)
Defenders: Amoreirinha (Estrela da Amadora), Nuno André (Standard Liège), Miguel Veloso (Sporting), Antunes (Paços de Ferreira), Semedo (Cagliari), Rolando (Belenenses), João Pereira (Gil Vicente)
Midfielders: Paulo Machado (União de Leiria), Manuel Fernandes (Everton), Ruben Amorim (Belenenses), Diogo Valente (Marítimo), Filipe Oliveira (Marítimo), Vieirinha (F.C. Porto), Organista (Pontevedra)
Forwards: Nani (Sporting), Yannick (Sporting), Vaz Té (Bolton), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Ivanildo (União de Leiria), Varela (Vitória de Setúbal).
Portugal keep the 8th spot in the latest FIFA rankings. The only change in the top ten is Germany and England swapping places.
1. (last month 1) Brazil
2. (2) Italy
3. (3) Argentina
4. (4) France
5. (6) Germany
6. (5) England
7. (7) Holland
8. (8) Portugal
9. (9) Nigeria
10. (10) Czech Republic
Portugal's friendly with Brazil will be played at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in London on 6 February. Arsenal season-ticket holders will be able to buy tickets as from 11 January, while others can buy as from 13 January, either from the FPF in Lisbon or via the Arsenal website. Prices range from around 45 euros to 75.
Portugal will play Brazil in a friendly on 6 February, possibly in London (to be confirmed). The last game between the two sides was in March 2003 at FC Porto's old Estádio das Antas; Portugal won 2-1 on Deco's début.