Picking the Best Portugal XI of Players Not at the World Cup

Paul Wilkes@@paulwilkesfootyFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2014

Picking the Best Portugal XI of Players Not at the World Cup

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    Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

    The job of any international team manager in picking 23 players for a squad isn't as simple as many presume.

    It's not just selecting the best players of a certain nationality and then forming a team out of the numbers.

    The coach should select those that fit technically and tactically within their philosophy, whilst ensuring they maintain the right balance of personalities in the dressing room.

    There are some players who perform exceptionally for their club, but they are unable to replicate that form for their country.

    Likewise, some will canter through a season to no great effect, yet look world beaters when representing their nation.

    Here are the best 11 players who haven't made Portugal's World Cup squad:

    Statistics from Wikipedia unless stated

Anthony Lopes (Goalkeeper)

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    Claude Paris/Associated Press

    The French-born goalkeeper is still to make his full debut for Portugal, but he has represented the country at U19 and U21 level.

    He made his first team debut for Lyon just 18 months ago and established his position as first choice this season.

    His excellent shot-stopping skills helped him keep 18 clean sheets last term, including man of the match performances against Paris Saint-Germain and Lille.

    This tournament might have come around a little too soon for the 23-year-old, but he will surely be in-contention for the European Championships in his native France in two years' time.

Cedric Soares (Defender)

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    Francisco Seco/Associated Press

    The Sporting defender is another player that was born in another European country, this time in Germany.

    He has played a considerable amount of times for each of Portugal's youth teams, but he has not featured for the first team.

    After progressing through the ranks in Lisbon, a loan spell at Academica saw him return a more accomplished player.

    The right-back berth is now his own, with only Rui Patricio and William Carvalho making more league appearances in the last campaign.

Rolando (Defender)

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    Luca Bruno/Associated Press

    The 28-year-old centre-back was born in Cape Verde, but he moved to Portugal at the age of 14.

    He was part of the squad which travelled to the 2010 World Cup, although he didn't make it on to the pitch.

    Rolando has spent the last two months loaned out to Italy, first with Napoli and then more recently with Internazionale.

    The Porto owned defender looks likely to stay in Milan, as he's keen to extend his time at the San Siro, via Inter Channel (h/t Goal.com).

Jose Fonte (Defender)

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    Rui Vieira/Associated Press

    Jose Fonte is yet another Southampton player that has benefitted from a late development in his career.

    The 30-year-old may have missed his opportunity to represent his country and made just one appearance for Portugal's U21 team.

    His move to Crystal Palace kick started his resurgence and now he is a wanted man around the Premier League, per John Cross of the Daily Mirror.

    He previously spent time at both Sporting and Benfica, but he never made it into either first team.

Vitorino Antunes (Defender)

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    The Malaga left-back can certainly count himself unlucky not to have made the final squad for Brazil.

    His club team's league predicament has possibly counted against him, after the incredible height of the 2012-13 season.

    Under Manuel Pellegrini, he was the Andalusians first choice on the left of the defence, as they reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

    A relegation battle with Bernd Schuster in charge this year won't have helped his cause.

Adrien Silva (Midfielder)

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    Armando Franca/Associated Press

    Sporting midfielder Adrien Silva is a surprising exclusion from this summer's rota.

    In fairness, the 25-year-old has been hampered by injuries and fell out of favour with various coaches.

    This has been his best run to date, as he picked up his team's Young Player of the Year award, following numerous loan moves previously.

Josue (Midfielder)

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    The attacking midfielder has been back at Porto for a season, after a two-year spell at Pacos Ferreira.

    His early years were spent gaining experience at various clubs in the second tier and with Dutch team VVV-Venlo.

    He was involved with the squad that defeated Sweden over the two legs, but he never made it on to the team.

    His inappropriate gesture (in Swedish) to the Swedish supporters after Portugal triumphed won't have helped his claim for a place in South America this month.

Andre Martins (Midfielder)

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    Armando Franca/Associated Press

    Little playmaker Andre Martins made his Seleccao debut last year, when he appeared twice for his national side.

    The Sporting youngster was a regular for the U21 team, where he scored three goals in 17 outings over a two-year period.

    After a difficult couple of seasons, Sporting finished second in the league and Martins was an important member in the turnaround.

    The central trio of Adrien Silva, William Carvalho and Martins has the right contribution of attributes which has attracted the attention of many admirers.

Ricardo Quaresma (Forward)

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    Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

    The silky winger could have been one of the world's best players but a lack a discipline and application has seen his career flounder.

    He has played for some of the top teams in the world in Barcelona, Internazionale and Chelsea, whilst the likes of Frank Rijkaard and Jose Mourinho have failed to extract the best from him.

    Now at 30, he is back in Portugal with Porto, where he has been at his most consistent.

    Ricardo Quaresma will need at least another season at the level of recent months, if he is to be considered in the international fold.

Edinho (Forward)

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    The much travelled striker scored in the second half of Portugal's friendly with Cameroon back in March.

    That display was his first for four years for his national side, although his strike rate remains impressive.

    He has three goals in six outings for Portugal, whilst this year he netted 11 in 15 for Turkish side Kayseri Erciyesspor.

    Edinho is owned by Braga, but he has played for 12 different teams, including spending time in both Greece and Spain.

Bruma (Forward)

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    Paulo Duarte/Associated Press

    Young Bruma has the potential to establish himself as a future regular for his country.

    The 19-year-old ended his association with boyhood club Sporting last summer, as he joined Galatasaray following a bitter contract wrangle.

    Manchester United actually bid £6.5 million more for the winger, but Sporting were unimpressed with the English side's negotiating strategy and were able to include a buy-on clause of 25 percent with the Turkish giants, via The Express.

    He finished last year's U20 World Cup as the second top scorer with five goals in four matches but a knee injury in January ended any hope of call-up this summer.