Portugal coach hands 20-year-olds a 1st call-up
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Ivan Cavaleiro and Rafa, two of Portugal’s best young players, have earned their first senior call-ups for next week’s friendly against Cameroon.
Portugal coach Paulo Bento included the under-21 standouts in his 23-man squad Friday for the last match before he announces his World Cup squad on March 19.
Cavaleiro, a 20-year-old striker, has made seven appearances for Benfica this season. Rafa, also 20, is an attacking midfielder with Braga.
Goalkeeper Rui Patricio made way for under-21 rival Anthony Lopes while center back Rolando, currently on loan at Inter Milan, was preferred over Bruno Alves. Nani is recovering from injury.
Bento said he has not yet made up his mind about the squad he will take to Brazil, where Portugal will play in Group G with Germany, Ghana and the United States.
Portugal hosts Cameroon on Wednesday in Leiria.
Goalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (Braga), Anthony Lopes (Lyon)
Defenders: Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Neto (Zenit St. Petersburg), Antunes (Malaga), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Pepe (Real Madrid), Joao Pereira (Valencia), Rolando (Inter Milan), Miguel Lopes (Lyon)
Midfielders: Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Josue Pesqueira (FC Porto), William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Ruben Amorim (Benfica), Rafa (Braga)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Silvestre Varela (FC Porto), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica), Edinho (Erciyesspor)