The 'Group of Death': Portugal's Final 23
With the four nations that will comprise Group G at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil having finalized their 23-man rosters, ussoccer.com takes a quick snap shot of the teams the USA will face in the ‘Group of Death’ this summer.
Portugal, the USA’s second group stage opponent at this summer’s FIFA World Cup, announced its final 23-man squad for the tournament on Monday. The group is a straightforward blend of tried and true campaigners (twelve players were part of the country’s 2010 World Cup team) and rising young talent.
Leading the squad are FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and defensive maestro Ricardo Costa, both of whom were part of Portugal’s 2006 team that finished fourth at the World Cup in Germany. Additional veteran leadership will come from players like goalkeeper Beto, defenders Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao and Pepe.
The team will also be able to draw on the experience of its coach Paulo Bento who made 35 appearances for Portugal from 1992-2002. He and U.S. defender DaMarcus Beasley both took part in the last match Portugal and the U.S. played against one another, a 3-2 win for the USA at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan.
Portugal’s players are spread throughout Europe on the club level, representing nine different leagues, but the majority of the team plies its trade on the Iberian peninsula in either Portugal’s Primeira Liga (eight players) or La Liga in Spain (six players).
Before heading to Brazil, Portugal will play friendly matches against Mexico on June 6 in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and Ireland in New Jersey on June 10. Once in Brazil, Portugal opens Group G play against Germany before playing the United States on June 22 in Manaus.
Portugal Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS: Beto (Seville), Eduardo (SC Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting)
DEFENDERS: André Almeida (Benfica), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), João Pereira (Valência), Neto (Zenit), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valência)
MIDFIELDERS: João Moutinho (Mónaco), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahçe), Rúben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting), Rafa (SC Braga)
FORWARDS: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Éder (SC Braga), Hélder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Nani (Manchester United), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg)