Pepe back as Portugal face Netherlands

06 August 2013 05:31

Portugal coach Paulo Bento has named a 23-man squad for the upcoming friendly match against the Netherlands at the Estadio do Algarve, with Real Madrid defender Pepe making his return.

Pepe, 30, is available again after a ban prevented him from featuring in the 1-0 win against Russia in June that left Portugal in top spot in World Cup qualifying Group F.

"The return of Pepe opens up a number of possibilities for us. He has a player with potential and the capacity to be a leader," said Bento at a press conference on Tuesday ahead of the game on August 14.

The friendly is Portugal's last game before they travel to face Northern Ireland in Belfast in a qualifier for the 2014 finals in Brazil on September 6.

"These two teams play in different ways," Bento said of his side's next two opponents. "But the objective is always the same: to be better than them."

Portugal squad

Goalkeepers: Beto (Sevilla/ESP), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon), Eduardo (Sporting Braga)

Defenders: Bruno Alves, Luis Neto (both Zenit St Petersburg/RUS), Fabio Coentrao, Pepe (both Real Madrid/ESP), Joao Pereira, Ricardo Costa (both Valencia/ESP), Silvio (Benfica/POR)

Midfielders: Custodio, Ruben Micael (both Sporting Braga), Joao Moutinho (Monaco/FRA), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev/UKR), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce/TUR), Ruben Amorim (Benfica)

Forwards: Vieirinha (Wolfsburg/GER), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/ESP), Danny (Zenit St Petersburg/RUS), Helder Postiga (Zaragoza/ESP), Varela (FC Porto), Nani (Manchester United/ENG), Nelson Oliveira (Rennes/FRA).

Source: AFP