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Portugal drops Jose Castro after Pepe recovers

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz has dropped Jose Castro from his World Cup squad after doctors said Pepe was fit to play.

Queiroz named Castro, a defender with Spain's Deportivo La Coruna, to a 24-man squad as he waited to see whether Real Madrid center back Pepe would recover from knee surgery in December.

Pepe's inclusion rounded out Portugal's 23-man squad for the tournament in South Africa.

Pepe was a standout during Portugal's lackluster qualifying campaign before he damaged ligaments in his right knee.

The naturalized Brazilian recently returned to training and was cleared to play by medical staff Sunday.

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Portugal squad:

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

Defenders: Duda (Malaga), Bruno Alves (FC Porto), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), Miguel Brito (Valencia), Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Rolando (FC Porto), Fabio Coentrao (Benfica), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Costa (Lille).

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

Forwards: Nani (Manchester United), Simao Sabrosa (Atletico Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Hugo Almeida (Werder Bremen), Danny (Zenit St. Petersburg), Liedson (Sporting Lisbon).