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Pepe peps up Portugal squad

Real Madrid CF defender Pepe has been named in Luiz Felipe Scolari's squad to take on Poland and Serbia but a thigh injury has almost certainly ruled him out.

'We must not lose'
The Brazilian-born player will be out for a fortnight after tearing his thigh though he will still link up with the squad for the two vital Group A home qualifiers, for which SL Benfica's Petit, Manchester United FC's Nani, Club Atlético de Madrid's Maniche and Werder Bremen's Hugo Almeida all return. "We must not lose either match," said Scolari. "We have already dropped two or three very important points that could have given us more comfort. The match against Poland is crucial. If we win we will be closer to them and to the finals." Portugal play Poland at the Estádio da Luz on 8 September and Serbia at the Estádio José Alvalade four days later. They are currently third in Group A, two points behind Finland and two more adrift of Poland, but with a game in hand on both.

Portugal squad
Quim (SL Benfica), Ricardo (Real Betis Balompié).

Defenders: Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Fernando Meira (VfB Stuttgart), Jorge Andrade (Juventus), Bosingwa (FC Porto), Pepe (Real Madrid CF), Miguel (Valencia CF), Caneira (Valencia CF), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea FC).

Midfielders: Deco (FC Barcelona), Petit (Benfica), João Moutinho (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Maniche (Club Atlético de Madrid), Raúl Meireles (FC Porto), Tiago (Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC).

Forwards: Hélder Postiga (FC Porto), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Nani (Manchester United FC), Nuno Gomes (SL Benfica), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Simão (Club Atlético de Madrid).