World Cup Insider - Quaresma axed from final Portugal squad

The Northern Echo: AXED: Ricardo Quaresma has not made the final Portugal squad for the World Cup finals AXED: Ricardo Quaresma has not made the final Portugal squad for the World Cup finals

PORTO winger Ricardo Quaresma has been cut from Portugal’s World Cup squad after head coach Paulo Bento trimmed his provisional party to a final group of 23.

Quaresma, who rejoined Porto in January after spending six months with Al-Ahli, was named in the provisional squad despite not having won a senior cap in almost two years.

However, the 30-year-old was dropped along with Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Antunes (Malaga), Rolando (Inter Milan), Andre Gomes (Benfica), Joao Mario (Vitoria Setubal) and Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica) as Bento named his final line-up.

Manchester United’s Nani is the only English-based player in the squad, with Portugal due to face Germany, Ghana and USA in Group G.

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FRANCE midfielder Franck Ribery says this summer’s World Cup will be his last.

The 31-year-old, who played in the 2006 and 2010 tournaments, will not be involved when the World Cup heads to Russia in 2018, and is hoping to bow out on a high.

“It will be my last World Cup,” said Ribery. “We have to go there to achieve something, to try to win the World Cup, quite simply.”

While this will be the end of Ribery’s World Cup experiences, the Bayern Munich winger has no plans to retire from international football and is hoping to be involved in Euro 2016, which will be hosted by France.

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BELGIUM coach Marc Wilmots has been forced to call up his fifth-choice goalkeeper after scans revealed Anderlecht’s Silvio Proto broke his arm in the final match of the Belgian league season.

Sammy Bossut, of Zulte Waregem, has been added to Belgium’s provisional squad in place of Proto, who was already a replacement for Koen Casteels.

Casteels broke a shin in early April, but has until the start of June to prove his fitness and claim a place in Wilmots’ final squad.

Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois is Belgium’s first-choice goalkeeper after a superb season on loan at Atletico Madrid, with Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet acting as his number two.

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AUSTRALIA’S World Cup preparations could be hampered by South Africa’s failure to name a full-strength side for this weekend’s friendly in Sydney.

It has been reported that players from Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, two of South Africa’s leading sides, will not be considered for the friendly, which would mean Australia facing severely weakened opposition.

Socceroos head coach Ange Postecoglou had been hoping to use the friendly as a key selection trial ahead of trimming three players from his provisional squad on Tuesday.

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