The Portugal national football team, the reigning European Championship Winner, is one of the first to announce its list of 23 players for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia which includes the following footballers:
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting);
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoles), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica);
Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes, William Carvalho (Sporting), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv);
Forwards: Andre Silva (Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas).
This squad has been expected. The team coach Fernando Santos had extremely limited choice of players who are worth travelling to Russia. A number of the footballers in the final roster have played their weak season. First of all, it is referred to the youth - Andre Silva failed in Milan, Bernardo Silva for a long time couldn`t fit in with the starry Manchester City. Also, the team veterans aren`t getting younger: Rui Patricio, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Joao Moutinho, Ricardo Quaresma are all well over 30, and it is a big question whether they are able to bear loads and to keep their best form at the end of the long and tiresome season. By and large, the game of the Portugal national team is built around its main and only star Cristiano Ronaldo. The team result on the tournament will depend on the physical condition which the Portugal national team leader will have had by the tournament.
Among those beyond the roster, two football players, Nani and Eder, attract attention. Throughout the whole season 31-year-old Nani was a benchwarmer in the Lazio Rome where he played only 17 matches (as a reserve player in most of them). It is unlikely that in such physical condition the veteran can seriously strengthen the national team.
Antonio Eder became the author of the victorious ball of the Portugal national team in the 2016 European Championship. He also was a benchwarmer in his club Lokomotiv Moscow. Perhaps, Eder could be useful, coming off the bench during the match — decisive goals at the end of the match are Antonio`s peculiarity. However, Santos has chosen Goncalo Guedes, the young forward of Valencia.