Pepe returns for Portugal as Nani keeps his place
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal defender Pepe is back from injury and suspension and will be in the squad for next week’s friendly against the Netherlands.
Striker Hugo Almeida, however, has been dropped by Portugal coach Paulo Bento.
Bento kept faith with injury-hit Nani while also leaving out recent newcomers Andre Martins, a midfielder, and Henrique Sereno, a defender.
The Aug. 14 match in Faro aims to help get the team ready for a decisive phase in its World Cup qualifying campaign. Portugal leads Group F with 14 points, two more than second-place Russia, but the Russians have two games in hand.
The Portuguese play at Northern Ireland in September and host Israel in October.
Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon), Eduardo (Braga), Beto (Sevilla)
Defenders: Joao Pereira (Valencia), Bruno Alves (Zenit St. Petersburg), Luis Neto (Zenit St. Petersburg), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Silvio (Benfica), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Pepe (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Carlos Custodio (Braga), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Ruben Amorim (Braga), Ruben Micael (Braga)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Silvestre Varela (FC Porto), Helder Postiga (Real Zaragoza), Danny (Zenit St. Petersburg), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Nani (Manchester United), Nelson Oliveira (Rennes)