Portugal vs. Cameroon: Preview

Mike Hewitt

Portugal and Cameroon take the opportunity to experiment with fresh faces ahead of the World Cup

It's the last squad before the final one, and Portugal coach Paulo Bento has taken the opportunity to get all funky and experimental. Uncapped 20-year-olds Rafael Silva and Ivan Cavaleiro have been called up, from Braga and table-topping Benfica respectively. Bento was effusive in his praise for the two, and stressed that he was interested not just in their talent but their versatility, which "gives the squad more solutions".

First-choice goalkeeper Rui Patricio has been left out to give Anthony Lopes more time with the squad, and defenders Miguel Lopes and Rolando are back after long stretches outside the national team. One notable absentee is Ricardo Quaresma, but Bento has indicated that this doesn't necessarily mean that the Porto man won't be taking his unique brand of frustrating wingplay and occasional wondergoals to Brazil.

Also conspicuous by his absence is his teammate Fernando. Bento is apparently still considering calling up the Brazilian-born midfielder, but was unable to do so for this game thanks to "reasons not related to sport". These appear to be bureaucratic, and related to his registration as newly-Portuguese. Bento insists he remains in the picture, though it's open to debate whether Fernando would get into the team: Cristiano Ronaldo aside, defensively-inclined midfielders is arguably Portugal's strongest department.

Cameroon have also taken the opportunity to look at some unfamiliar players. Two youngsters have been plucked from Barcelona B: forward Jean Marie Dongou, who has played twice for Barcelona's senior side, and central defender Macky Frank Bagnack. Thirty-three year old Mohamadou Idrissou has been recalled after being dropped for the second leg of their qualifying playoff.

Coach Volker Finke has caused some consternation back in Cameroon, however, after a three-day training camp for domestic-based players failed to produce even one call-up. This entirely European-based side looks likely to adopt a defensively-minded approach, with a packed midfield, and will look to a somewhat revitalised Samuel Eto'o up front.


Portugal: Eduardo, Beto, Anthony Lopes, Miguel Lopes, João Pereira, Ricardo Costa, Pepe, Fábio Coentrão, Rolando, Neto, Antunes, Raul Meireles, João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, William Carvalho, Ruben Amorim, Josué, Rafa, Ivan Cavaleiro, Edinho, Hugo Almeida, Cristiano Ronaldo, Varela

Cameroon: Guy-Rolland Assembe, Charles Itandje, Sammy Ndjock, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Macky Frank Bagnack, Henri Bedimo, Gaeten Bong, Aurelien Chedjou, Jean-Armel Kana Biyik, Nicolas Nkoulou, Dany Nounkeu, Allan Nyom, Eyong Enoh, Jean Makoun, Joel Matip, Landry Nguemo, Alexandre Song, Vincent Aboubakar, Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting, Jean Marie Dongou, Samuel Eto'o, Mohamadou Idrissou, Benjamin Moukandjo

Match date/time: Wednesday, 8:45 p.m. local, 3:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa, Leiria, Portugal

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