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.


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).