Eder, Nani out of Portugal squad

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 19 May 2018 10:43:06


 

LISBON,

(AFP)

FORWARDS Eder and Nani were surprise absentees from Portugal’s World Cup squad with national team coach Fernando Santos opting instead for the youth of Andre Silva and Goncalo Guedes to play alongside superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.Also missing from the 23-man squad was Andre Gomes who, like Eder and Nani, played at the 2016 European championships won by the Portuguese.

Injured Porto midfielder Danilo Pereira was also missing from the line-up. At 33, five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo and 34-year-old Ricardo Quaresma are the only players over 30 in the Portuguese attack. Eder scored the extra-time winning goal in the Euro 2016 final against France but he was desperately out of form for Lokomotiv Moscow this season, scoring just four goals as his club side claimed the Russian Premier League title.

Nani, 31 and his country’s third most-capped player behind Ronaldo and Luis Figo with 112 appearances, has played just 24 matches all season with Lazio.“From a human perspective, it’s very hard to discard players who were with us at Euro 2016,” admitted 63-year-old coach Santos. “They have all contributed to writing a brilliant chapter in the history of Portuguese football. But I had to make choices that for me make a better puzzle.”

Winger Guedes, 21, has impressed on loan at Valencia from Paris Saint-Germain this season, having struggled in France last term. Andre Silva, 22, scored eight goals in 14 games during AC Milan’s Europa League campaign, which proved enough to see him called up despite only starting seven Serie A matches.

TEAM

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes, Beto, Rui Patricio. Defenders: Bruno Alves, Cedric Soares, Jos Fonte, Mario Rui, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, Ricardo Pereira, Ruben Dias. Midfielders: Adrien Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Mario, Joao Moutinho, Manuel Fernandes, William Carvalho, Bernardo Silva. Attackers: Andre Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gelson Martins, Goncalo Guedes, Ricardo Quaresma.

 

Payet left out of France WC squad, Mendy included

PARIS,

(AFP)

MARSEILLE star Dimitri Payet was left out of France’s World Cup squad announced by coach Didier Deschamps, completing a miserable 24 hours for the playmaker. The former West Ham United player was forced off with a hamstring injury in the first half of Marseille’s Europa League final defeat against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, and that fitness doubt persuaded Deschamps to leave him out of the squad of 23.

“Dimitri Payet was a serious candidate for a place in the squad. He played the first half-hour (against Atletico), but he aggravated his injury, and the recovery time needed for that type of injury is three weeks,” Deschamps said after revealing his squad live on television station TF1’s evening news programme. “But as it is a muscle injury, there is a risk of a relapse.” Payet was one of France’s stars at Euro 2016, when they reached the final as hosts before losing to Portugal. But he has also fallen victim to the number of attacking options available to Deschamps, who did call up Payet’s Marseille team-mate Florian Thauvin along with Lyon captain Nabil Fekir.

Elsewhere, Manchester City left-back Benjamin Mendy was called up despite having hardly featured for Pep Guardiola’s side since returning from a serious knee injury. “It always seems impossible until it’s done”, wrote Mendy on Twitter. Antoine Griezmann will lead the attack, fresh from scoring twice for Atletico in the Europa League final. Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema’s international exile goes on—he has not played for France since October 2015 after being accused of involvement in a blackmail affair involving a sextape.“Two years have passed. I have put my faith in players who have responded to that, and the squad comes before everything else,” Deschamps said.

TEAM

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Alphonse Areola. Defenders: Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, Benjamin Pavard, Adil Rami, Djibril Sidibe, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane. Midfielders: N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Steven N’Zonzi, Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso. Forwards: Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Kylian Mbappe, Florian Thauvin.