Portugal host Cyprus for the start of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group H without talisman Cristiano Ronaldo after the winger injured his right ankle playing for Real Madrid CF.
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History would seem to favour the hosts fairly heavily as Portugal prepare to get their UEFA EURO 2012 Group H bid under way at home to Cyprus, who have yet to score a goal on their opponents' soil.
Portugal team news
• Ricardo Quaresma has been called up to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, who injured his right ankle in Real Madrid CF's Liga game at RCD Mallorca last Sunday. SC Braga right-back Sílvio is the surprise inclusion in the squad for Portugal's opener against Cyprus and the match against Norway four days later. The 22-year-old has never previously represented his country and will be hoping for a first cap along with Sporting Clube de Portugal duo Nuno Coelho and Yannick Djaló − the latter having been called up to replace the injured Silvestre Varela.
• Meanwhile, there are just two goalkeepers in the 20-man party, with Rui Patrício sent on Under-21 duty but placed on standby − along with Paulo Machado − in case of injury.
Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Genoa CFC), Beto (FC Porto)
Defenders: Rolando (FC Porto), Miguel (Valencia CF), Ricardo Carvalho (Real Madrid CF), Bruno Alves (FC Zenit St. Petersburg), Nuno Coelho (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Sílvio (SC Braga), Fábio Coentrão (SL Benfica)
Midfielders: Raúl Meireles (Liverpool FC), João Moutinho (FC Porto), Manuel Fernandes (Valencia CF), Miguel Veloso (Genoa CFC), Tiago (Club Atlético de Madrid)
Forwards: Yannick Djaló (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Ricardo Quaresma (Beşiktaş JK), Danny (FC Zenit St. Petersburg), Nani (Manchester United FC), Hugo Almeida (SV Werder Bremen), Liédson (Sporting Clube de Portugal)
• Cyprus coach Angelos Anastasiadis has opted for experience, with 33-year-old APOEL FC defender Savvas Poursaitidis, who was born in Greece, ready to make his competitive debut after taking Cypriot citizenship. "The first game is always an exciting prospect and the same goes for Portugal," said striker Ioannis Okkas. "It will undoubtedly be a tough game and for such trips you need be focused for the whole 90 minutes. Our fans should know that we will give every ounce of our strength for the best possible result."
• Cyprus squad
Goalkeepers: Antonis Georgallides (AC Omonia), Tasos Kissas (APOEL FC), Sofronis Avgoustis (Apollon Limassol FC)
Defenders: Alexis Garpozis (AEL Limassol FC), Marios Nikolaou (AEL FC), Marios Elia (APOEL FC), Savvas Poursaitidis (APOEL FC), Giorgos Merkis (Apollon Limassol FC), Elias Charalambous (AC Omonia), Siniša Dobrašinović (Alki FC), Paraskevas Christou (Alki FC)
Midfielders: Christos Marangos (Anorthosis Famagusta FC), Chrysostomos Michail (APOEL FC), Marinos Satsias (APOEL FC), Constantinos Charalambides (APOEL FC), Konstantinos Makridis (AC Omonia), Andreas Avraam (AC Omonia)
Forwards: Ioannis Okkas (Anorthosis Famagusta FC), Michalis Konstantinou (AC Omonia), Efstathios Aloneftis (AC Omonia), Georgios Efrem (AC Omonia)
• Portugal's record in eight games against Cyprus reads W8 D0 L0 (W4 D0 L0 at home).
• Cyprus's four contests in Portugal have ended 4-0, 1-0, 4-0 and 6-0, leaving them staring at a daunting 15-0 aggregate scoreline.
• The first of their meetings yielded a 4-0 victory for Portugal in 1974 FIFA World Cup qualifying on 29 March 1972. The sides were then paired again in 1976 UEFA European Championship qualifying and the preliminaries for the 1978 World Cup.
• Portugal and Cyprus last met in Larnaca on 5 September 2001 – two days shy of exactly nine years before this latest encounter – with the visitors prevailing 3-1 in what was a 2002 World Cup qualifier.
• Portugal have won their last three competitive matches at home but kicked off 2010 World Cup qualifying with a defeat and two 0-0 draws on their own turf. They ultimately needed a play-off success against Bosnia-Herzegovina to reach the finals. Cyprus failed to secure an away win during the same campaign, drawing two games and losing three.