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Portugal v Wales: Santos remains coy over fitness of Pepe

By Phil Blanche

Published 06/07/2016

No laughing matter: Pepe is a big concern for Portugal
No laughing matter: Pepe is a big concern for Portugal

Pepe remains a doubt for Portugal's Euro 2016 semi-final against Wales after head coach Fernando Santos kept his counsel.

Questions over the 33-year-old's fitness were raised after missing Sunday's training session with a thigh complaint.

A precautionary measure it may have been, but Pepe did not take a full part in training on the eve of the match before the squad travelled to Lyon.

Being without the Real Madrid centre-back against Wales would be a huge blow for Portugal and coach Santos was coy when asked about his fitness.

"As for Pepe, you'll probably be tossing and turning in your beds tonight because I'm not going to answer," he said with a smile.

"I'll be sleeping quietly because I have other players who can play. This situation is not new for us, it happened in our first match with (Ricardo) Quaresma.

"If Pepe is 100 per cent, I will think about it and he can start the game. If not, no problem. All the players must be 100 per cent fit for such an important game."

Should Pepe fail to recover, former Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho looks set to line-up in central defence alongside Southampton captain Jose Fonte.

William Carvalho will miss tonight's match through suspension, but fellow midfielder Andre Gomes and left-back Raphael Guerreiro are back in contention after missing the quarter-final against Poland with knocks.

Belfast Telegraph

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