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Portugal announces World Cup preliminary roster

The Portugal roster looks great on paper, but then again, it always does.

Bryn Lennon

At first Paulo Bento said he wouldn't make his World Cup preliminary roster public, but something changed his mind because on Tuesday, he announced it. And guess what? Cristiano Ronaldo made it.

There weren't many surprises in the Portugal squad. A handful of big names missed out, like Danny and Nelson Oliveira, but neither was a Bento favorite. Danny only played in one qualifier all cycle and Oliveira in two, while neither drew the praise of the Portugal manager so their absences were to be expected.

Joining Ronaldo in the front three of Portugal's five-man midfield will be Joao Moutinho and Nani, as has been the case for most of Bento's stead, while Raul Meiereles and Miguel Veloso will play behind them. Helder Postiga and Hugo Almeida will battle for the striker spot and the back line will be led by Pepe and Bruno Alves.

On paper, Portugal has an outstanding team, with top class players all over, but they haven't been top class in years. Qualifying was a struggle and they only topped Sweden in the playoff because Ronaldo was remarkable. Of course, Ronaldo could win a match by himself at any time, but too often, that is all Portugal has to offer.

The United States will play Portugal in their second match of the group stage on June 22 in Manaus. With Germany likely to win Group G, the U.S., Portugal and Ghana figure to battle it out for second place and a spot in the knockout stages.

The U.S. and Portugal have played once before in the World Cup, a 3-2 win for the Americans in the first match of the 2002 World Cup.

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Sevilla), Eduardo (SC Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting)

Defenders: André Almeida (Benfica), Antunes (Málaga), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), João Pereira (Valencia), Neto (Zenit), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Valência), Rolando (Inter).

Midfielders: André Gomes (Benfica), João Mário (Vitória FC), João Moutinho (Monaco), Miguel Veloso (D. Kiev), Raul Meireles (Fenerbahçe), Rúben Amorim (Benfica), William Carvalho (Sporting).

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Éder (SC Braga), Helder Postiga (Lazio), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica), Nani (Manchester United), Rafa (SC Braga), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Varela (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg).