Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Carvalho: See You in January

Portugal lines up for its final two Euro 2008 qualifiers in the next 10 days against Armenia and Finland, but Selecao das Quinas fans won't have Ricardo Carvalho standing guard in front of goalkeeper Ricardo. Word is in that Carvalho is done for two months with a back injury. ABola out of Portugal is reporting Carvalho has a problem with three vertebrae.

Scolari has called up Marco Caneira, Bruno Alves, Miguel, Fernando Meira, Jorge Ribeiro, Bosingwa and Pepe on the back line. Is this a crushing blow? No, but it doesn't help. Portugal is three points clear of Serbia for the second qualifying spot out of its group, and one point back of Poland for the group lead. Armenia is done and Finland has a puncher's chance because it's tied with Serbia in points but trails badly on goal differential.

Chelsea will feel Carvalho's absence more than the Portuguese national team. The Blues are regaining form, but this won't help their hunt for the top of the Premiership.

UPDATED: Nov. 16, 2007 -- Sporting's Abel gets his first call-up to replace the injured Carvalho. He's 28 and he's thrilled. "I'm delighted to be here. This was one of my goals but I didn't know if it was ever going to happen – and it wasn't ideal to come in because a team-mate was injured," he said.

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