The South American's squad for the 12 February friendly against Italy in Genoa contains several surprises. The main absentees are FC Porto goalkeeper Vítor Baía and winger Nuno Capucho, Sporting Clube de Portugal playmaker João Pinto and SL Benfica striker Nuno Gomes - all of whom were a part of Portugal's unsuccessful side at last summer's World Cup finals.
Vítor Baía has never missed out on selection for the squad when fit since he was 19, but Scolari was quick to point out that the custodian was not entirely out of his plans. "My criteria are to call the players I think are in the best form and those who can give what I need until EURO 2004™," he said. "For this game, the two goalkeepers I have chosen are the best and that is why I have picked them but this does not mean that I won't call any of the absent players any more."
Trio handed first calls
There are also first call-ups for Benfica and Under-21 international Miguel, UD Leiria attacking midfield player Silas and Porto and U21 forward Hélder Postiga. "I have been watching some players more regularly but I preferred to watch those players who do not have that high a profile - the younger ones," explained Scolari. "I do not need to watch Luis Figo playing to know that he is good."
Scolari has also kept faith with Ricardo Rocha, Tiago and Pedro Mendes, who were all previously picked by Portugal's former caretaker coach Agostinho Oliveira, and recalled central defenders Marco Caneira and Jorge Andrade.
Ricardo, Quim, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Rocha, Fernando Couto, Jorge Andrade, Caneira, Nuno Valente, Rui Jorge, Tiago, Pedro Mendes, Fernando Meira, Costinha, Miguel, Simão, Sérgio Conceição, Figo, Rui Costa, Silas, Boa Morte, Pauleta, Hélder Postiga.
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