Pepe given lifeline


LISBON, May 11 – Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz on Monday unveiled a 24-man squad ahead of the World Cup finals which included Real Madrid's Pepe, who is still getting over knee surgery from December."Unknowns can emerge from the time the players get together and we want to be sure that when the time comes to take decisions everyone will be ready," said Queiroz as the players prepared to gather in the central town of Covilha from Friday.

Ultimately, he will have to trim the squad down to 23 before the Portuguese, semi-finalists in 2006, head off to South Africa for the June 11-July 11 event.

Portugal will go up against Brazil, Ivory Coast and North Korea in Group G, kicking off against the Ivory Coast on June 15 at Port Elizabeth.

Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Sporting Braga), Daniel Fernandes (Iraklis/GRE), Beto (FC Porto).

Defenders: Miguel (Valencia/ESP), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea/ENG), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea/ENG), Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Rolando (FC Porto), Ricardo Costa (Lille/FRA), Ze Castro (Deportivo/ESP), Duda (Malaga/ESP), Fabio Coentrao (Benfica).

Midfielders: Pedro Mendes (Sporting Lisbon), Pepe (Real Madrid), Tiago (Atletico Madrid), Deco (Chelsea/ENG), Raul Meireles (FC Porto), Miguel Veloso (Sporting Lisbon).

Strikers: Simao (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Danny (Zenit/RUS), Liedson (Sporting Lisbon), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen/GER), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/ESP), Nani (Manchester United/ENG).