LISBON - Sporting's Yannick Djalo strengthened his bid to join Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Simao on the Portugal team's wings at the World Cup in South Africa with a classy hat-trick in the league at the weekend.
The 23-year-old inspired Sporting to a 5-0 win over Rio Ave and his recent form has raised calls for Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz to name him in the squad for the finals.
"Yannick Djalo, three goals with the World Cup in sight," said the Maisfutebol site.
"Djalo has been told he has one foot in the World Cup, and that only a serious injury will keep him out of the squad," said the Diario de Noticias daily without citing a source.
Sporting coach Carlos Carvalhal successfully moved Djalo to the wing from the second striker position after taking charge in November, and it is on the flanks that the player may find an opening with Portugal.
Competition for the spot decreased when an ankle injury ruled Porto's Silvestre Varela out for the season, and Ricardo Quaresma makes only rare appearances for Inter Milan so is unlikely to be in contention.
Djalo was called to the senior squad by Queiroz for two World Cup qualifiers in 2008 but did not come off the bench. He is a regular in the under-23 side and Queiroz clearly sees a future for him in the national team.
"We're following Rui Patricio, Fabio Coentrao and Djalo. They may play in the World Cup, but they are also the base for our team for Euro 2012," Queiroz said last month.
The coach is due to the announce the 23-man squad for the World Cup on May 11.comments