Portugal name Nelson Semedo in squad for Euro 2016 qualifiers
LISBON, Portugal -- Benfica defender Nelson Semedo has earned his first call-up by Portugal ahead of the European Championship qualifiers against Denmark and Serbia.
Portugal need just one point to book their place at next year's tournament in France.
Semedo, 21, has never played for Portugal's junior teams and had been playing for Benfica's B team before being promoted to the senior squad this season. He made his debut in the Super Cup against Sporting Lisbon and has become a fixture in the first team at right-back.
"Nelson Semedo can take advantage of the fact Vieirinha is not available," coach Fernando Santos said. "The way Nelson has progressed is very, very positive. We have observed him a lot and he can respond to what I want."
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The call-up comes with African nation Cape Verde courting his international allegiance.
Tiago returns to midfield after suspension, with playmaker Joao Moutinho and defender Fabio Coentrao back from injury. Central defender Pepe remains unavailable with a muscle strain. Belenenses goalkeeper Ventura in named in place of the injured Beto.
Portugal host Denmark on Thursday before facing Serbia on Oct. 11. Portugal are top of Group I with 15 points from six games.
Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon), Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Ventura (Belenenses)
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Fenerbahce), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Southampton), Eliseu (Benfica), Nelson Semedo (Benfica), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco), Fabio Coentrao (Monaco), Neto (Zenit St. Petersburg)
Midfielders: Miguel Veloso (Dynamo Kiev), Bernardo Silva (Monaco), Andre Andre (FC Porto), Joao Moutinho (Monaco), Rafa Silva (Braga), Danilo Pereira (FC Porto), Joao Mario (Sporting Lisbon), Tiago (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit St. Petersburg), Eder (Swansea), Nani (Fenerbahce), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)