Tuesday 29 May 2018, 12:29

Portugal's next generation reinforcements

  • ​Portugal arrive as one of a trio of continental champions

  • Side has seen new blood added since EURO 2016 win

  • Youthful arrivals provide an impressive range of attacking options

Portugal will land in Russia as one of only three continental champions in attendance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ – the fewest to reach the finals since USA 1994.

After Fernando Santos guided A Seleção das Quinas to their first international title two years ago, he will have a few exciting young additions at his disposal when facing the likes of Spain, Iran and Morocco.

FIFA.com gives you a brief rundown of the youthful injection of talent the European champions have benefited from since UEFA EURO 2016

Manchester City, winger

Having worked his way into the squad over the year preceding EURO 2016, a hamstring injury robbed the exciting winger of a potential winner’s medal. Since then, he’s made up for missing out by stocking his trophy cabinet with league titles in both France and England, having played his part in exceptional seasons for Monaco and Manchester City.

While limited to a supporting role under Pep Guardiola so far, he did get to show his silky touch and rapid changes of velocity at the FIFA Confederations Cup, and will be out to cause a stir again in Russia.

Sporting CP, attacking midfielder

Surprsingly, Fernandes had to make his name in Italy before getting the chance to impress back on home soil. Having become a regular with Udinese when aged just 19, and then at Sampdoria, the creative midfielder has spent this season at Sporting. No-one provided the team with more assists in the Primeira Liga in his debut season, while Bas Dost was their only player to outscore him.

While still waiting for his first competitive cap since his debut in 2017, he did appear at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016.

Sporting CP, winger

Having impressed in his rise through the ranks of the Portuguese set-up, and having already become a regular in the Sporting squad, Martins broke into the senior side in time for their second qualifier on the road to Russia. Two assists in just 22 minutes during his second appearance three days later showed what the winger has to offer.

Equalling Fernandes’ assist tally in the league this season, Martins – who struck twice at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2015 – was also among those to grab a bronze medal a year ago in Russia at the Confederations Cup.

AC Milan, striker

While a challenging debut season in Italy has left sparkling expectations tarnished a little, the centre-forward’s record in the colours of his country remains exceptional. A rate of more than a goal every other game sees him stand on 12 so far, ten of which have come in competitive matches. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has more in Fernando Santos’s provisional squad.

Having netted once at the Confederations Cup, with four already to his name at the 2015 U-20 World Cup, the former Porto man has shown he can do it in tournament football too.

Paris Saint-Germain, winger

Guedes’s transition into senior-squad regular has long been on the cards. Involved at every age group since Portugal’s U-15s, he is finally getting his chance to show his stuff after getting a brief taste aged 18, having not missed a call-up since October 2017.

An impressive season on loan at Valencia, during which he racked up 11 assists and five goals, was what forced his name into the conversation. Full of pace, power and invention, Guedes is someone of whom a great deal is expected.

Benfica, centre-half

Having celebrated his 21st birthday a fortnight ago, and made his Portugal debut against Tunisia earlier this week, Dias looks set to cap off a breakout season in style. A year on from captaining the team at the U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic, he has started every game for Benfica in 2018, showing impressive maturity in the centre of defence and forcing seasoned captain Luisao to the bench. In his last two games there has been a 16- and 14-year age difference between him and his defensive partners, Luisao and Pepe.