Portugal squad to play Argentina

LISBON - Portugal coach Paulo Bento, who has overseen three successive wins since taking charge, said continuity was the key after naming a squad containing few surprises for next week's friendly against Argentina.

"There are no big surprises, we are looking for stability. We want to give an identity to the national side, and that comes from stability in our selections," Bento told reporters on Thursday.

Appointed in September after Carlos Queiroz was sacked for insulting anti-doping agents, Bento has revived Portugal's Euro 2012 qualifying hopes after a dismal start with wins over Denmark and Iceland.

Portugal then produced a sumptuous display to humble World Cup winners Spain 4-0 in a friendly in November and Bento said he wants the side to keep building momentum against Argentina before the next qualifier at home to Norway in June.

The coach's single change in defence is the absence of Real Madrid centre back Pepe, who is recovering from a torn calf muscle, while Tiago is no longer available in midfield after retiring from international football last month.

Winger Ricardo Quaresma earns a first call-up under Bento, having revived his career at Besiktas following a nightmare spell on the sidelines at Inter Milan.

"Quaresma is a talented player. The call-up is not a surprise," Bento said.

Captain Cristiano Ronaldo's form has improved for Portugal under Bento, but the coach said the friendly will not pit him in an individual duel against Argentina's Lionel Messi even though fans may see it as such.

Portgual face Argentina in Geneva on Wednesday.


Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Genoa), Ventura (Portimonense), Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Defenders: Ricardo Carvalho (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Zenit St Petersburg), Rolando (Porto), Fabio Coentrao (Benfica), Joao Pereira (Sporting), Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Miguel Veloso (Genoa), Joao Moutinho (Porto), Raul Meireles (Liverpool), Carlos Martins (Benfica), Paulo Machado (Toulouse)

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit St Petersburg), Helder Postiga (Sporting), Nani (Manchester United), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas)