Cedric Soares gets surprise Portugal call-up

Cedric Soares is back in the Portugal National Team squad for the first time since November 2018, after his recent resurgence with Arsenal.

Portugal announced their squad for March’s World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday, with Cedric Soares getting a surprise call-back. The 29-year-old hadn’t made a squad since November 2018, and he hadn’t made an appearance since October 2018.

A year ago, it would have been difficult to see this coming. Cedric was struggling with injury problems after his move to Arsenal, where it looked like he’d be playing a backup role at best.

But the full-back has started to break into Mikel Arteta’s side a bit more regularly lately, and he was even selected to start the North London derby at the weekend.

Cedric has also shown his versatility, making almost as many appearances at left-back as at right-back this season. That’s always useful for tournament football, where every squad space counts.

The former Southampton defender has 33 caps and an excellent record in tournament football with Portugal. Of his 10 appearances across Euro 2016, the Confederations Cup 2017, and the World Cup 2018, Portugal won six, drew three, and lost one on penalties.

They lifted the trophy in 2016, with Cedric playing the entirety of the knockout stages. They finished in third at the Confederations Cup the next year, and Cedric was undefeated at the World Cup before they dropped him and got eliminated by Uruguay.

Now he has a chance to make his case for a Euro 2020 spot, amid strong competition for places.

Arsenal’s Euro Contenders

It would be nice to see Cedric join the few representatives of Arsenal at the European Championships, as there really aren’t very many in line for a call-up at this stage.

At best, you’re looking at Granit Xhaka (Switzerland), Bukayo Saka (England), Kieran Tierney (Scotland), Bernd Leno (Germany), and Cedric Soares (Portugal) having a good chance to make it.

Possibly Dani Ceballos and Hector Bellerin (Spain) too, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles (England) has an outside chance.

Other than those eight, there’s really no one else even in serious contention. Alexandre Lacazette (France) is the only one even worth mentioning, and that would require a spree of serious attacking injuries or the best form of his entire career.

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