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EURO 2022

Portugal squad for Women’s Euro 2022: player profiles - Silva, Borges...

This summer, Portugal will try to showcase what has led to a rise in the world rankings, and whatever happens, the players will learn from the experience.

Berta Rodrigues
Nuno Travassos
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As part of the Guardian’s Women’s Euro 2022 Experts’ Network, a collaboration between media outlets from 16 countries, AS is offering in-depth profiles of the players in all 16 squads at the tournament, which runs from 6 to 31 July. This lowdown on the Portugal team is written by Nuno Travassos and Berta Rodrigues of Maisfutebol.

Goalkeepers

Inês Pereira

Date of birth: 26.05.1999

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: Servette (Switzerland)

Portugal are playing at the Euros as a replacement for Russia but Pereira says she wished that this was not the case, because that would mean that the war in Ukraine was not happening. She is only 23 but has played for the national team since 2018. She had five years at Sporting before moving to Servette in 2021. Says she cried a lot in the first few weeks, missing family and friends, but the situation improved and she has gained invaluable Champions League experience this season. Hope Solo, Iker Casillas and Oliver Kahn are her main reference points and she really stands out because of how good she is with her feet. In fact, she even played the final of the Women’s Promotion Cup in 2016 as an outfield player, scoring one goal to help Estoril win the title.

Patrícia Morais

Date of Birth: 17.06.1992

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: SC Braga

The first time she was called up to the national team, at Under-19 level, Morais was still not convinced that she wanted to play in goal. However, she was told that it was the only way she was getting into the squad and from that moment on she focused on the position between the posts. She is very competitive and dominant in the air, often with an intimidating facial expression. Has been around for some time now and has been in the national team for over a decade, but not always as the No 1. She arrives at the Euros having won the award for being the best goalkeeper in the Portuguese league in 2021-22. She does not know how to swim but once said she would rather be dropped in the middle of the Atlantic than lose a World Cup final with Portugal.

Rute Costa

Date of Birth: 01.06.1994

Position: Goalkeeper

Club: FC Famalicão

Was a seriously good volleyball player and was set to become a professional in that sport until she swapped to football at the age of 16. She has also represented Portugal in beach football. She ended up being a goalkeeper by accident as one day there was no one around to be in goal. After four years with Braga she has now moved back to Famalicão, nearer her home town of Barcelos.

This will be her second Euros after also being part of the squad in 2017. Speaking to Portuguese website LadoF about the competition for the goal in the national team, she said she focuses on herself: “My goal is to be better everyday so my ambition is more individual than outward-looking. I am my own competition.”

Defenders

Alícia Correia

Date of Birth: 29.04.2003

Position: Left-back

Club: Sporting CP

Alícia is from Barreiro, the industrial city on the west coast that gave Portuguese football some of its best players in its history, such as Fernando Chalana, José Augusto and João Cancelo. Having come up through the age groups she made her full senior debut at the age of 17. She is definitely one of the players for the future for Portugal. “I got to do skating and athletics when I was younger but my passion has always been football,” she says. “I consider myself an intelligent and fast player and I know that I am capable of making good decisions, and make them quickly.”

Carole Costa

Date of Birth: 03.05.1990

Position: Central Defender

Club: SL Benfica

Costa is quite a shy person but has still managed to become one of the pillars of this national team, which she has represented since 2008. But she is not about to stop now. With 138 caps before the Euros, she feels she still has a long way to go with Portugal and once said she wanted “to reach 200 caps”. Back in Portugal now after seven years in Germany, playing for Essen, Duisburg and Cloppenburg, she developed a lot while being abroad. After three seasons with Sporting she is now with Benfica and was voted the best player of the Portuguese League in 2021-22. She recently signed a new contract with Benfica.

Catarina Amado

Date of birth: 21.07.1999

Position: Right Back / Winger

Club: SL Benfica

Amado made history as she scored a late winner for Benfica as they secured their first ever Champions League group stage victory in November 2021, beating Swedish side Häcken 2-1 away. Born in Lousã, in the centre of Portugal, she found it difficult to be away from her family when she left to play for Estoril in 2016. She started out as a right-sided winger but has also been deployed at right-back. She adapted well. “It’s a position I am really enjoying and learning more and more about,” she said last year.

Diana Gomes

Date of birth: 26.07.1998

Position: Central Defender

Club: SC Braga

Got her football education in a slightly unorthodox way – on the family balcony, with her two older brothers. After many, many hours there she was invited to play with the local club, and the rest is history. “When I was a child I remember dribbing around without any opponents and throwing myself to the ground as if I had been fouled although no one else was there,” she has said. “I was also commentating on what was happening. My mum thought I was crazy but I just told her that I was going to become a footballer. Stands out on the pitch not only because of her play but her braided high pony.

Mariana Azevedo

Date of birth: 27.09.1995

Position: Central Defender

Club: FC Famalicão

At the age of three Azevedo was already playing with the boys on the field next to the church in the town where she grew up. For obvious reasons she did not have much power in her shots so the no-shooting-inside-the-box rule did not apply to her. Either way, she shone in those surroundings and you could see she was a special player from early on. After three seasons at Sporting she said she was in need of some “family comfort” and signed for Famalicão nearer home. Had made only two appearances for Portugal when Francisco Neto called her up for the Euros.

Joana Marchão

Date of birth: 24.10.1996

Position: Left Back / Left winger

Club: Sporting CP

Born in Abrantes, she was the subject of a television report by RTP when was only 12 years old because she was that good at football. She was dominating the boys but from then on she could no longer play in a mixed team and had to join a senior women’s team. She was so good that she was noticed by Sporting and Benfica, although they did not pursue anything when they realised she was a girl, not a boy. Dreamed of playing for Sporting and the national team from a young age – and has already achieved both goals. She has a pretty unusual pre-match ritual in that she likes to listen to classical music (Mozart) or read a book to find calmness before games.

Sílvia Rebelo

Date of birth: 20.05.1989

Position: Defender

Club: SL Benfica

Grew up in Lagarinhos, which is a tiny place with only around 500 inhabitants in the municipality of Gouveia, right next to Serra da Estrela. She started her career at Fundação Laura Santos, but it was such a small club that she, apart from being a player, did the laundry and also worked as a driver. Talk about multi-talented. She fulfilled her dream of turning professional player, first with Sporting Braga and then, since 2018, with Benfica. She is now a veteran of the national team with more than a 100 caps.

Midfielders

Andreia Norton

Date of birth: 15.08.1996

Position: Midfielder

Club: SC Braga

The daughter of a former Brazilian player (Pingo), who played for a few years in Portugal, Norton grew up playing barefoot on the streets of Ovar. Incredibly she made her debut in the Portuguese top flight at just 13 years old and six years later she signed for Barcleona. But just before she left misfortune struck in the shape of a knee injury, which required surgery. Sadly she did not play for Barcelona at all and returned to Portugal after a year. Whatever happens this summer, she already has a place in Portuguese football history, having scored the goal that took her country to their first major finals, Euro 2017.

Andreia Jacinto

Date of birth: 08.06.2002

Position: Midfielder

Club: Sporting CP

A huge prospect, she was only 17 years old when she was handed her international debut and comes into this summer’s tournament on a high, having been voted as the Young Player of the Season in the Portuguese league for the 2021-22 campaign. A very versatile player, Jacinto has played all over the pitch in her career, even in goal once, but has now settled in midfield. “I love having control of the game, with the ball at my feet, ready to play in my teammates,” she says. She got interested in football by watching her older brother play matches and then decided she wanted to play the sport too. Leandro now plays in the lower leagues and Andreia says she wants to be a success for both of them.

Andreia Faria

Date of birth: 19.04.2000

Position: Central Midfielder

Club: SL Benfica

Education has always been important to Faria and she has always balanced football and studies in her life, rushing from football training to university and the other way around. She is currently doing a master’s in finance. It is impressive that she is doing that while impressing for Benfica and the national team. It was not a given that she would become a footballer. Far from it, she was the only girl who liked to play football in her village in the northeast of Portugal. She therefore played with boys until she was 17 and was already part of the under-age teams with Portugal when she became part of Benfica’s first ever women’s team in 2018. For Portugal, she got to play alongside her childhood idol, Cláudia Neto.

Dolores Silva

Date of Birth: 07.08.1991

Position: Central Midfielder

Club: SC Braga

Named Player of the Match after Portugal won their first ever game at a European Championship (against Scotland) in 2017, she promptly gave the award to her father, who has been an immense support throughout her career. “I really wanted my father to see me at the Euro so I helped pay for his flight,” she said. “It was a dream to have him there as it was my first time at a Euro. Then, as the cherry on the top, we beat Scotland and I got the prize for the best player. As soon as I saw my dad I immediately gave him the award and said: ‘This is yours for everything you’ve done for me’. It was a very special moment.” Now back in Braga after eight years abroad, including a season with Atlético Madrid during which she managed to do something another Portuguese hero, Paulo Futre, did not – to win the Spanish league. Has played pretty much her entire career with the No 14 shirt.

Fátima Pinto

Date of Birth: 16.01.1996

Position: Central Midfielder

Club: Sporting CP

Born in Madeira, just like Cristiano Ronaldo, she made Portugal’s first ever squad for a women’s Under-19 European Championship despite the island not being part of the inter-regional tournament that year. The Under-19 coach, José Paisana, knew that there was a special player though so he went to Funchal to see Pinto play for GD APEL. She was invited for a trial and was so impressive that she was included in the squad for a tournament that started only a few days later. After a spell in Spain between 2014 and 2016 she has been playing in mainland Portugal with Sporting. Two years ago she completely lost the hearing in her right ear and had to have an operation to remove a benign tumour. She has a degree in tourism and wants to return to Madeira when she finishes her football career and work as a tourist guide. Passionate about surfing, she says she would be “happy to live in a small beach house”.

Kika Nazareth

Date of birth: 17.11.2002

Position: Midfielder/Forward

Club: SL Benfica

One of the most promising talents ever in Portuguese women’s football, she is the first female player to be represented by the super agent Jorge Mendes. She grew up playing a lot of futsal with boys in her neighbourhood before moving to girls football. A wonderfully skilful and versatile player, she can play anywhere up front and is capable of scoring the most beautiful goals. She made her debut for Benfica at the age of 16 and has already starred for several of Portugal’s youth teams, including the one that reached the Under-17 semi-finals in 2019. Made her debut for the senior national team two years ago at the age of 17. She is a fun person and enjoys a good joke. Answering a quiz on Fifa’s website, asking her to choose three skills from three famous players, she said: “Renard’s hair, Jordyn’s boyfriend … Is this too bad? Ok, then seriously: Marta’s intelligence, Renard’s height and Selma Bacha’s agility and power.”

Tatiana Pinto

Date of birth: 28.03.1994

Position: Midfielder

Club: Levante (Spain)

Has always been hellbent on becoming a footballer, so much so that she stayed in Portugal to try to fulfil her dream even when her parents moved to France. She had spent her whole upbringing telling her mum that she was going to be a footballer but sadly her mum passed away when Pinto was 16. Shortly afterwards Pinto was called up for the Portuguese national team for the first time. Has moved around quite a bit, including spells in Germany with Sand and in England with Bristol City, and is now with Levante in Spain. Happy to play in different shirt numbers, as long as it is an uneven number. Brings experience to the team and has played more than 70 times for her country.

Vanessa Marques

Date of birth: 12.04.1996

Position: Midfielder

Club: SC Braga

Born in Lyon, Marques has made no secret of the fact that she would one day like to represent her home town club. Has hada spell playing in Hungary with Ferencvaros, but is now back in Portugal with Braga. A very useful squad member, she can play both in midfield and in attack. Because of her long blonde hair, her teammates call her “little princess”. By returning to Portugal Marques was able to go back to university, where she is doing a degree in Communications Science, with the view of perhaps becoming a journalist in the future. “I will feel more accomplished if I can finish my degree,” she says. “I don’t like leaving a project halfway through.”

Forwards

Ana Borges

Date of birth: 15.06.1991

Position: Right/Left Back / Right Winger

Club: Sporting CP

There is a wonderful story of her turning up in jeans and normal trainers at her first club (Fundação Laura Santos) but she bounced back from that and has had a long and successful career since then. Extremely versatile and can play at both right and left back as well as a right winger. Between the ages of 18 and 26 she played abroad – in Spain, the United States and England – but since 2017 she has been with Sporting, the club she has been a supporter of “since she was in her mother’s womb”. Borges has several tattoos with some of them relating to important dates in her career, such as the day she made the assist for the goal that ensured Portugal qualified for their first Euros. The date, in Roman numerals, has the word “Faith” written below it. An icon of the game, she has more than 130 caps for her country.

Carolina Mendes

Date of birth: 27.11.1987

Position: Forward

Club: SC Braga

The daughter of a roller in-line hockey coach, she played the sport until she was 20 years old and was even called up to the national team at youth level. She only started playing football at the age of 16 but proved so good at it that she was soon called up to the national youth teams in that sport too. A player of tremendous longevity she has been with the national team since 2006 and has more than a 100 caps for her country. Mendes scored the first goal for the equipa das quinas at the Euros 2017 and has played in Spain, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Iceland, but never lost her Alentejo accent. She loves to travel and has created a blog where people can follow her adventures. Had some injury problems this season but recovered in time to make Francisco Neto’s Euro squaD.

Diana Silva

Date of Birth: 04.06.1995

Position: Forward / Winger

Club: Sporting CP

Diana has four brothers, all boys, but she was the one to succeed in football and she did not hang around to make her presence felt. At the age of 13 she was already playing for her hometown club Atlético Ouriense boys team before being promoted into the women’s first team. Later she was studying Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Coimbra, which meant long train journeys most days as she divided her time between her course and training. She finished the degree in Lisbon after signing for Sporting.

In 2020-21 she had a spell at Aston Villa in their first season in the WSL but returned to Alvalade after a year.

Jéssica Silva

Date of Birth: 11.12.1994

Position: Forward / Winger

Club: SL Benfica

Her father, Valter Silva, was a footballer for Belenenses among others and she grew up playing football with oranges in her grandmother’s garden. Sadly her father passed away before Silva had made her debut for the national team. Has plenty of experience of playing abroad, moving to Swedish top side Linköping at the age of 20 and having spells in the United States and France. With Lyon she became the first Portuguese female player to win the Champions League. She missed the last Euros because of injury and ended up being a pundit for the tournament, trying not too be too emotional but there were tears when Portugal secured their first-ever win in the tournament against Scotland. Silva has Cristiano Ronaldo as her main inspiration and has a few tricks up her sleeve that remind onlookers of the Portugal legend.

Telma Encarnação

Date of birth: 11.10.2001

Position: Forward

Club: CS Marítimo

Some people call her Ronalda, being a goalscorer born in Madeira and growing up in a difficult environment. Cristiano Ronaldo is, in fact, her role model. “I even got hurt once at school trying to replicate one of his bicycle kicks,” she told Canal 11. Ronaldo has inspired her since she was a little girl in Câmara de Lobos having to be creative to make her own footballs. Sometimes she wrapped sheets of paper from old school notebooks in tape and she also trained with an old basketball against a wall. It was very heavy but it helped her develop her excellent shooting technique. When she signed her first contract with Marítimo she asked to be paid in groceries to help out her family. Still playing in Portugal, Encarnação was named the Portuguese league’s best player in 2020-21.

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