Portugal`s Coentrao, Varela ruled out of Spain friendly

Lisbon: Portugal left back Fabio Coentrao and winger Silvestre Varela, two of the side`s in-form players, have been ruled out of Wednesday`s friendly against Spain due to injury, the Portugal Football Federation (FPF) said on Monday.

Coentrao, who has been one of Benfica`s best performers in the Champions` League this season, injured his right knee during the 4-0 win against Naval on Sunday.

Varela, who has scored six goals to help Porto earn a 10-point lead in the Portuguese Premier League, had to be replaced in the first of half of his team`s victory against Portimonense after picking up a thigh injury.

Coach Paulo Bento has called up Toulouse midfielder Paulo Machado and Genoa`s Miguel Veloso, a midfielder who can also play at left back, to replace the duo, the FPF added in a statement.

The friendly is being held as part of the effort to promote the joint bid by the two countries to host the 2018 World Cup, with FIFA`s decision due on Dec. 2.

The match in Lisbon is also an opportunity for Portugal to avenge their World Cup last-16 defeat to the Spanish.

Portugal squad:

Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Genoa), Rui Patricio (Sporting)

Defenders: Bruno Alves (Zenit St. Petersburg), Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea), Joao Pereira (Sporting), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Carvalho (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Carlos Martins (Benfica), Joao Moutinho (Porto), Manuel Fernandes (Valencia), Miguel Veloso (Genoa), Paulo Machado (Toulouse FC) e Raul Meireles (Liverpool).

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit St. Petersburg), Helder Postiga (Sporting), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Nani (Manchester United).

Bureau Report