Paulo Bento has revealed the 23 players that will carry Portugal's hopes at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with the versatile André Almeida and midfielder Rafa surprisingly among them.
The final squad, announced to the media at the Portuguese Football Federation headquarters in Lisbon, is largely based on the players Bento leant on most in qualifying but two of the younger members of the party stand out.
André Almeida, 23, has two caps to his name, but has forced himself onto the plane to Brazil with a strong end to the season, playing 14 successive games for treble winners SL Benfica, at right-back, left-back and in defensive midfield. The 21-year-old creative midfielder Rafa, who won his sole cap in March's 5-1 friendly win against Cameroon, has shone for a struggling SC Braga outfit.
"Every decision I make in situations like these are difficult, but our criteria are of technical-tactical nature, linked to our playing system and with the flexibility to change it," said Bento. "These names are, for me, the ones who give more guarantees in technical, tactical and physical terms, as well as dedication to the cause during the entire competition."
The final squad was announced six days after an initial list of 30 players was announced, with seven dropping out: Anthony Lopes, Antunes, Rolando, André Gomes, João Mário, Ivan Cavaleiro and Ricardo Quaresma.
Portugal will play their first warm-up game against Greece in Lisbon on 31 May before travelling to the United States and further friendlies versus Mexico and the Republic of Ireland. They begin their Group G campaign against Germany in Salvador on 16 June before meetings with the United States in Manaus and Ghana in Brasilia.
Goalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla FC), Rui Patrício (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Eduardo (SC Braga).
Defenders: André Almeida (SL Benfica), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe SK), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid CF), Pepe (Real Madrid CF), João Pereira (Valencia CF), Ricardo Costa (Valencia CF), Neto (FC Zenit).
Midfielders: João Moutinho (AS Monaco FC), Miguel Veloso (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Raúl Meireles (Fenerbahçe SK), Rúben Amorim (SL Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Rafa (SC Braga).
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF), Éder (SC Braga), Hélder Postiga (SS Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Beşiktaş JK), Nani (Manchester United FC), Silvestre Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (VfL Wolfsburg).
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