Andre Martins gets 1st call-up for Portugal
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Sporting Lisbon midfielder Andre Martins has earned his first Portugal call-up for a World Cup qualifying game against Russia it can’t afford to lose.
Coach Paulo Bento’s squad also features returns for Nani and Braga duo Ruben Micael and Ruben Amorim. Real Madrid defender Pepe is suspended for the match at Benfica’s Stadium of Light in Lisbon on June 7.
Russia is top of Group F with 12 points after four wins in four games. Portugal and Israel share second place on 11 points but they have each played six games.
Portugal, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, reached the semifinals at last year’s European Championship but the team ranked fifth in the world by FIFA has struggled to find its form since then.
Portugal has won just three of its qualifying games so far. It has drawn with Israel and Northern Ireland and lost in Moscow.
Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon), Eduardo (Istanbul BB), Beto (Sevilla).
Defenders: Joao Pereira (Valencia), Bruno Alves (Zenit St. Petersburg), Henrique Sereno (Valladolid), Luis Neto (Zenit St. Petersburg), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), Silvio (Deportivo La Coruna), Ricardo Costa (Valencia).
Midfielders: Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Carlos Custodio (Braga), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Joao Moutinho (FC Porto), Andre Martins (Sporting Lisbon) , Ruben Amorim (Braga), Ruben Micael (Braga).
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Silvestre Varela (FC Porto), Helder Postiga (Real Zaragoza), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Danny (Zenit St. Petersburg), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Nani (Manchester United), Nelson Oliveira (Deportivo La Coruna).