Soccer-Young Portugal full backs called up for qualifiers


LISBON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Promising full backs Cedric and Andre Almeida earned first call-ups to Portugal's 25-man squad for the last two World Cup Group F qualifiers against Israel and Luxembourg, Portugal coach Paulo Bento said on Friday.

Cedric, 22, and Almeida, 23, have caught the eye at Lisbon clubs Sporting and Benfica respectively and have the chance to win first caps in two crucial matches.

Portugal are desperate to qualify the World Cup in Brazil but are second in the group, one point behind leaders Russia and five above second-placed Israel who they host next Friday.

"Cedric and Almeida are two players that arrive here having proven themselves in the Under-21 national squad," Bento said.

"Cedric has played more regularly at Sporting while Almeida has been part of a rotation strategy at Benfica but is also more versatile as we can play him in midfield."

Bento named a larger than usual 25-man squad because Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao and Valencia's Helder Postiga are suspended for the first match. Portugal host Luxembourg on Oct. 15.


Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Sevilla), Rui Patricio (Sporting).

Defenders: Cedric (Sporting), Andre Almeida (Benfica), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Luis Neto (Zenit St Petersburg), Antunes (Malaga), Pepe (Real Madrid), Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Raul Meireles (Fenerbahce), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Ruben Micael (Braga), Andre Martins (Sporting), Josue (FC Porto).

Forwards: Nani (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Helder Postiga (Valencia), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Eder (Braga), Nelson Oliveira (Stade Rennes), Varela (FC Porto), Danny (Zenit St Petersburg). (Reporting by Daniel Alvarenga, editing by Ed Osmond)

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