National coach Fernando Santos has recalled Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City), João Mário (Lokomotiv Moscow), Bruma and André Silva (PSV Eindhoven) to the squad to face Luxembourg tonight (Friday) at the José Alvalade Stadium, Lisbon and on Monday against Ukraine at the NSC Olympiyskiy Stadium in Kiev.
The big news is a first call-up for centre-back Rúben Semedo, who has put personal problems behind him and is rewarded for an excellent start to the season at Olympiako (Greece). Semedo’s career appeared to be in tatters eighteen months ago with the defender facing charges and a possible jail sentence for his involvement in separate incidents of alleged assault, brandishing a firearm, kidnapping and theft while at Villarreal who quickly shipped him out on loan to Spanish Second Division Champions SD Huesca. Mid-season he joined Rio Ave, again on-loan, for whom he turned in some outstanding performances. A permanent move to Olympiakos in the summer has seen Semedo continue his excellent form, becoming a key player under Portuguese coach Pedro Martins as the Greek giants have made a strong start to the season.
Portugal are currently on a four-match winning streak in competitive play and two more victories against Luxembourg and group leaders Ukraine will almost certainly see the reigning Champions qualify for the EURO 2020 finals. The finals will be held in twelve European countries between the 12 June and the 12 July, when for the first time the video assistant referee (VAR) system will be used at the UEFA European Championship.
London will host the semi-finals and the final at Wembley Stadium as it has the largest capacity of any of the stadiums entered for the competition.