Uncapped SC Braga duo Miguel Lopes and Custódio are the main surprises in Portugal's final 23-man squad for UEFA EURO 2012.
Full-back Lopes and 28-year-old midfielder Custódio have been rewarded for their fine club form after Braga finished a commendable third in the Portuguese Liga. There is no place for team-mate Hugo Viana, however, with Bento placing his trust in the youthful exuberance of SL Benfica forward Nélson Oliveira.
Oliveira's solitary cap came against Poland on 29 February, six days before marking his UEFA Champions League debut with a goal in his side's 2-0 victory against FC Zenit St Petersburg. The 20-year-old is accompanied by a raft of formidable talent, including Real Madrid CF trio Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Fábio Coentrão, Manchester United FC's Nani and UEFA Champions League finalist Raul Meireles.
"Custódio and Lopes have been in excellent form for their clubs during the second half of the season," said Bento. "Custódio has different characteristics from the other midfielders. Hugo Viana is a good player, but we feel that with our style of play he doesn't fit in our 23. Lopes showed strength both in defence and attack and can operate on both flanks."
The squad will assemble on 21 May in Obidos, around 80km northwest of Lisbon. Portugal start their EURO campaign on 9 June against Germany in Lviv, before facing Denmark four days later and the Netherlands on 17 June. Prior to the tournament, they will contest friendly matches against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on 26 May and Turkey on 2 June.
"We are going to go as far as we can," added Bento. "It's not unreasonable to say that the future European champions could be found in our group."
Goalkeepers: Eduardo (SL Benfica), Rui Patrício (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Beto (CFR 1907 Cluj).
Defenders: João Pereira (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid CF), Bruno Alves (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Rolando (FC Porto), Ricardo Costa (Valencia CF), Pepe (Real Madrid CF), Miguel Lopes (SC Braga).
Midfielders: Raúl Meireles (Chelsea FC), Miguel Veloso (Genoa CFC), João Moutinho (FC Porto), Rúben Micael (Real Zaragoza), Carlos Martins (Granada CF), Custódio (SC Braga).
Forwards: Nani (Manchester United FC), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF), Hugo Almeida (Beşiktaş JK), Ricardo Quaresma (Beşiktaş JK), Silvestre Varela (FC Porto), Hélder Postiga (Real Zaragoza), Nélson Oliveira (SL Benfica).
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