Penpix of Portugal's squad for World Cup finals

LISBON Fri Jun 6, 2014 9:21pm EDT

Portugal's national soccer team poses before their internatinal friendly soccer match against Greece at the National Stadium in Lisbon May 31, 2014. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

Portugal's national soccer team poses before their internatinal friendly soccer match against Greece at the National Stadium in Lisbon May 31, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Rafael Marchante

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal's squad for the World Cup finals comprises the following 23 players:

Goalkeepers:

Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon) Age: 26; 29 caps. One-club player, took over as Portugal's first-choice goalkeeper just before Euro 2012 and has since made the position his own. An ever-present in Poland-Ukraine and played in every match of the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Eduardo (Braga) Age 31; 33 caps. Shone for Portugal at 2010 World Cup and had key role in Braga's impressive 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. Spent season at Genoa but it all went wrong with move to Benfica and lost place at both club and international level. Now back at Braga, is a good shot-stopper, decent at saving penalties, but can struggle in the air.

Beto (Sevilla) Age 32; 7 caps. Much-travelled player who has reached Sevilla via Sporting, Chaves, Marco, Leixoes, Porto, Cluj in Romania and Braga. Agile and courageous, does not allow small stature to prevent him from dealing with high balls.

Defenders:

Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce) Age 32; 71 caps. Uncompromising, powerful and aggressive. Uses height and heading ability effectively at both ends of pitch. Fans' favorite while at Porto where he was raised and won four successive league titles. Moved to Zenit St Petersburg and finally Fenerbahce. Sometimes criticized for rough play. Father Washington is former Brazilian footballer who spent most of career in Portugal with Varzim.

Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid) Age 26; 43 caps. Originally a winger, he was driving force in Benfica's 2009-10 title-winning campaign before joining Real Madrid. Although has struggled to retain club place, usually finding his way blocked by Marcelo, remains first-choice for his country and played at 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Pepe (Real Madrid) Age 31; 57 caps. Intense and battle-hardened defender who can play as holding midfielder. Has suffered recurring injuries, but remains quick and intimidating figure who covers a lot of ground and is influential in squad. Has been involved in several unsavory and much-publicised incidents. Born in Brazil, moved to Portugal as 18-year-old to play for Maritimo and was given citizenship in 2007.

Joao Pereira (Valencia) Age 30; 35 caps. Rebel in character and playing style, attacking right-back likes to catch opponents off-balance. Was given international debut by Paulo Bento after 2010 World Cup and been a regular since.

Andre Almeida (Benfica). Age 23: Caps: 3. Almeida can play either as a midfielder or fullback. Has represented Portugal at various youth levels and was selected for the squad despite making only 10 league appearances this season for Benfica, where his way into the team is barred by a legion of foreign players.

Ricardo Costa (Valencia). Age 33. Caps: 18. Central defender who has been in and out of the national team over the past nine years, including a four-year absence between 2006 and 2010, and will be traveling to his third World Cup. Raised at Porto, he spent three seasons at VfL Wolfsburg, winning one Bundesliga title, before joining Valencia in 2010.

Luis Neto (Zenit St Petersburg). Age 26; 7 caps. Central defender was late developer who did not make top-flight debut until he joined Nacional at 23 from second-tier Varzim. Quickly made impact and joined Siena one year later before moving to Zenit. Made international debut in February last year.

Midfielders:

Miguel Veloso (Dinamo Kiev) Age 28; 47 caps. Versatile, owner of fine left foot and free-kick specialist, he is a product of Sporting's academy. Once criticized for concentrating more on fancy hairdos than his game. Matured after moving to Genoa. Moved to Ukraine in 2012. Played at Euro 2012 and ever-present in 2014 qualifiers.

Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce) Age 31; 73 Caps. Heavily tattooed and tactically astute midfielder. May have lost some mobility, but remains crisp passer and possesses powerful shot. Played at Euro 2008 and 2012, and last World Cup, but was suspended when then-club Chelsea won Champions League final in 2012. Given 11-match ban for allegedly spitting at referee in Turkish league match in 2012 after being sent off, an accusation he denied.

Joao Moutinho (Monaco) Age 27; 66 caps. Bafflingly left out of 2010 World Cup squad, Moutinho has become key player under Paulo Bento. Holding player often praised for consistency and tactical awareness. Combines hard work and tough tackling with excellent distribution and sets rhythm in transitions from defense to attack. Joined Monaco from Porto this season.

Ruben Amorim (Benfica). Age 29; 11 Caps. Box-to-box midfielder who was included in 2010 World Cup squad but suffered setback with knee surgery at Benfica in early 2011. After recovering, he criticized Benfica coach Jorge Jesus for not giving him more chances, refusing to train with the reserves at one point, and was loaned to Braga. Has been called up regularly by Portugal over last 18 months.

William Carvalho (Sporting) Age 22; 3 caps. Defensive midfielder was born in Angola, moved to Portugal as an infant and joined Sporting's youth divisions in his early teens. Returned to Sporting this season after six months with Cercle Brugge and made international debut as substitute in World Cup qualifying playoff against Sweden.

Forwards

Silvestre Varela (Porto) Age 29; 22 caps. Has misfortune of being winger in side including Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, and often struggles to get game at Porto. Made name by scoring late winner against Denmark at Euro 2012. Lively presence, always making aggressive runs down flanks and producing dangerous crosses.

Hugo Almeida (Besiktas) Age 30; 54 caps. Tall, powerful striker who gives Portugal presence in the air but sometimes lacks mobility. Scores spectacular goals with powerful left foot. Seems to have settled at Besiktas after lots of comings and goings at club level. Has had spells with Porto, Uniao Leiria, Werder Bremen and Boavista.

Helder Postiga (Lazio) Age 31; 67 caps. Central striker and strong in the air, but erratic finisher. Still was second top scorer in World Cup qualifiers with six goals and has averaged just under one every two games at international level. Played at Euro 2004, 2008 and 2012 and 2006 World Cup but missed out on South Africa four years ago. Joined Lazio in January, eighth club, in six different countries, of his career.

Nani (Manchester United) Age 27; 73 caps. Born in Cape Verde, Nani is top-class dribbling and goal-scoring winger who has emerged from Cristiano Ronaldo's shadow and delights with electric pace, pinpoint crossing and long-distance scoring. However, he blows hot and cold at club level with Manchester United. Remains key figure for Portugal. Set to make World Cup finals' debut after missing South Africa with a shoulder injury.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) Age 29; 110 caps. Holder of Ballon d'Or for world's best player who recently opened a museum dedicated to himself. Portugal’s goal-scoring captain will be one of the main attractions at the finals with his tricky runs and clinical finishing. Strutting record-breaker is at peak of his career and terrific combination of enormous pace and quick stepovers can bemuse any opposition, even if certain arrogance means he is not everyone's cup of tea.

Eder (Braga) Age 26: Caps: 7. Born in Guinea Bissau, Eder moved to Portugal as a teenager. Spent four years with Academica Coimbra before joining Braga in 2012, the same year he made his international debut.

Vieirinha (VfL Wolfsburg). Age 28. Caps 7. Played for Portugal at every youth level but had to wait until last year for his full international debut but since then has played regularly. Raised at Porto, he spent four years in Greece with PAOK before moving to the Bundesliga two years ago.

Rafa Silva (Braga). Age 21: Caps: 2. Joined Braga for the start of the 2013/14 season and made a quick impression in the top flight with his dribbling ability and vision. Made his full debut against Portugal in March.

* Caps correct up to and including May 31

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Ken Ferris)

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