Portugal defender Pepe not to face Denmark, Serbia

Lisbon, Oct 3 (IANS) Portugal football coach Fernando Santos has left Real Madrid defender Pepe out of the squad because of fitness issues. So he will not play in the qualifiers for Euro 2016 against Denmark and Serbia.

The list provided on Friday by Santos includes the team’s captain and main star striker, Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as the new addition of right-back Nelson Semedo, the young defender with Benfica, Efe reported.

The Portuguese just need one point to guarantee the direct pass to next year’s European Championship, which takes place in France.

Sevilla goalkeeper Beto, who is injured and Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho, who has just recovered from a fractured tibia, are also absent from the call.

The Portuguese team will face Denmark on Thursday in Braga, and three days later will play Serbia away from home.

Portugal lead the Group I with 15 points after winning five of the six games played so far, followed by Denmark with 12 and Albania with 11.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Rui Patrício (Sporting Lisbon) and Ventura (Belenenses).

Defenders: Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Cedric (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Southampton), Eliseu (Benfica), Nelson Semedo (Benfica), Fabio Coentrao (Monaco), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco) and Neto (Zenit).

Midfielders: Andre Andre (Porto), Danilo (Porto) Bernardo Silva (Monaco), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Joao Mario (Sporting Lisbon), Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Rafa Silva (SC Braga) and Tiago (Atletico Madrid).

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit), Eder (Swansea), Nani (Fenerbahce) and Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas).

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