A few days ago, the preselection of 55 players selected by Fernando Santos to compete in the 2022 World Cup with Portugal leaked. Let’s see together what the technician’s final list for Qatar could look like.
the program from Portugal to Qatar: Group H – Ghana (November 24), Uruguay (November 28), South Korea (December 2).
Two uncertainties at the goalkeeper position
Historic holder, Rui Patricio (AS Roma) has not offered all the guarantees in recent months and he could give up his number one spot to rising star Diogo Costa (FC Porto), holder in both games in September. There is also a doubt about the identity of the third goalkeeper: a priori, José Sa (Wolverhampton) leaves all the same with a head start on the Lyonnais Anthony Lopes, zapped during the last two lists, and on Rui Silva (Betis ).
The certainties of the corridors
In the right-back position, the hierarchy is clear: João Cancelo (Manchester City) is the holder and Diogo Dalot (Manchester United) his understudy. Cedric Soares (Arsenal) and Nelson Semedo (Wolverhampton) will only be options if injured.
In the left lane, few doubts there too, Nuno Mendes (Paris SG) is number one, replaced by Raphael Guerreiro (Dortmund). Mario Rui (Naples) is ready in case, while Nuno Tavares (OM) starts from further away.
In the middle, the veteran Pepe (FC Porto) and Ruben Dias (Manchester City) start with the Parisian Danilo Pereira as the third thief. Behind them, the hierarchy is more fluid and Lille’s José Fonte and Tiago Djalo, plus Domingos Duarte (Getafe) and David Carmo (FC Porto) could compete for one or two places, with a balance that seems to lean more in favor of Djalo and Carmo. But distrust because Santos is reputed to be conservative and a return from Fonte, absent from the last two lists, cannot be ruled out…
Traffic jam in the middle
In midfield, the duo of William Carvalho (Betis) and Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton) will start with a notch above Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United). Regulars of the lists of Santos, João Palhinha (Fulham) and Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton) should also be in the game. The experienced João Moutinho (Wolverhampton) also seemed to have every chance, but his absence in September raises questions. The Parisian Vitinha, present at the last two rallies, could benefit from it, while it is more vague concerning his teammate Renato Sanches, who did not appear in the selection in 2022, mainly because of injuries. Finally, we must not bury Otavio (FC Porto), capable of playing as a winger, nor the experienced João Mario (Benfica), recalled in September.
Although most often aligned winger, the innkeeper Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) is considered as a midfielder in the lists of Santos and his presence is not in doubt either. A priori, the technician should select 8 or even 9 elements in this sector where he can count on the versatility of Danilo Pereira.
The attack in full doubt
Clearly, Portugal’s attack is not going strong. Firstly due to the poor form of Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), who should nevertheless remain a starter and who benefits from a system tailor-made for him. Then because the winger Diogo Jota (Liverpool), supposed to compose the attacking trio with CR7 and Bernardo Silva, will undoubtedly forfeit and does not appear in the pre-selection which has leaked. Under these conditions, it is Rafael Leão (AC Milan) who should recover the vacant starting spot. Gonçalo Guedes (Wolverhampton) has a very good chance of accompanying him to Qatar, and, in the absence of Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton), also forfeited, Ricardo Horta (Braga) and the versatile Otavio could compete for the last place.
Finally, in the axis, behind CR7, apart from the particular profile of João Félix (Atletico Madrid), guaranteed to be on the trip, the sensation Gonçalo Ramos (Benfica) could well grill on the wire André Silva (RB Leipzig), while that Rafa Silva (Benfica) has, let us remember, retired from international football last month.
Portugal’s probable list for the 2022 World Cup
Guardians (3): Diogo Costa (FC Porto), Rui Patricio (AS Roma), Jose Sa (Wolverhampton)
Defenders (9): João Cancelo (Manchester City), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Nuno Mendes (Paris SG), Raphael Guerreiro (Dortmund), Pepe (FC Porto), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Danilo Pereira (Paris SG), Tiago Djalo ( LOSC), David Carmo (FC Porto)
Midfielders (9): William Carvalho (Betis), Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), João Palhinha (Fulham), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton), Vitinha (Paris SG), João Moutinho (Wolverhampton), Otavio (FC Porto)
Forwards (5): Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), João Félix (Atletico Madrid), Gonçalo Ramos (SL Benfica), Rafael Leão (AC Milan), Gonçalo Guedes (Wolverhampton)