Get to know all the players in the Portugal squad participating at the Women’s World Cup this summer.
Date of birth: 26/05/1999
Pereira is only 24 years old but is already somewhat of a veteran with the national team, having made her debut five years ago. In 2021 she left Sporting for Servette in Switzerland and although she says she cried a lot during the first months when she was missing friends and family, the move also helped her grow up fast.
She is not the tallest of goalkeepers and can sometimes struggle with high balls but she is exceptional with her feet. She even played the final of the Women's Promotion Cup in 2016 as an outfield player, scoring one goal to help Estoril win the title. She grew up with Hope Solo, Iker Casillas and Oliver Kahn as her goalkeeping references.
Date of birth: 17/06/1992
Has said that she doesn’t like to be praised and that “it is criticism that will take you far” and that sums up the Braga goalkeeper who always wears an intimidating expression in matches. Has not always been a goalkeeper, as she explained to the Braga podcast recently. “It is said that goalkeepers are a little crazy, and I've always been crazy, even before I was a goalkeeper. I started out as a winger and I loved to run, but only forward. Not back to defend. I didn’t like being in goal but one day I was called to the under-19 national team and they said I could only stay as a goalkeeper. And that was that.”
Set to be Portugal’s No 1 despite strong competition, she started Portugal’s games in the World Cup qualifying play-off. Does not know how to swim and one time got so afraid in a waterfall that two people had to help her out, all while her club and international teammate Carolina Mendes was filming.
Date of birth: 01/06/1994
Almost 10 years ago Costa suffered a hand injury that nearly ended her career. Three different specialists were unsure whether she could continue but she proved them all wrong to become one of the best goalkeepers in the country. “It was one of the most important moments in my life,” she said. “When you face adversity, it is difficult to manage all the negative feelings and all the frustration. You feel that the whole world is against you but I decided to take a different stance.”
Was a seriously good volleyball player and was set to become a professional in that sport until she swapped to football at the age of 16. She has also represented Portugal in beach football. She ended up being a keeper by accident as one day there was no one around to be in goal. Has only eight caps in six years at the time of writing but hopes that might change soon after a good season with Benfica.
Date of birth: 21/07/1999
Made Benfica history in November 2021 by scoring the goal that earned the club their first ever Champions League group stage win, against Swedish side Häcken. Her attacking style as a full-back has helped her establish herself at Benfica and also with the national team.
She was born in Lousã, in central Portugal, but has been in the Lisbon area since the age of 17, first with Estoril and now Benfica – and she can’t quite believe her luck. “Sometimes it is still hard to believe what kind of life I am living, even more so that fact that I am doing it for the club of my heart. Playing with this badge on my shirt is a tremendous source of pride,” she said after her first season at the club.
Date of birth: 22/10/1997
For Alves, there is only one way of playing the game. “My strongest asset is that I play with a lot of grit,” she says. “Whenever I get on that pitch I give absolutely everything and I do it with all the strength that I have.” It is an attitude that has got her far, signing for her favourite club Benfica in 2019.
Initially she found it hard to break into the starting XI and went back to her previous club, Valadares Gaia, on loan. Confidence returned to her game and once back at Benfica she impressed sufficiently to be called up to the national team in 2021. An unused squad member at last summer’s Euros, she told Novum Canal: “At the age of two I already played football with my dad. Wherever I went, I wore my hat backwards and had a ball under my arm.”
Date of birth: 03/05/1990
Talk about being able to hold one’s nerves. Imagine the scene: your decisive World Cup play-off game against Cameroon is straying into the 94th minute when your side is awarded a penalty. And you have to take it. That was the situation Costa faced in February in Hamilton but she looked cool as a cucumber as she stepped up to sidefoot the ball to the goalkeeper’s left. Cue carnage as all the Portugal players, and subs, ran to celebrate with her. “It is the happiest day of my life,” she told the Portuguese FA TV after the final whistle. “I haven’t been able to even cry yet because I can’t quite believe it has happened.”
Some of her teammates admitted that they could not bear to watch the spot kick. Could have had a better start to her international career as she forgot her passport when she joined the squad for the first time. These days she is the linchpin of the Portugal defence and believes she can go on to win 200 caps, although admits she may “need a zimmer frame” on the pitch towards the end. A set-piece specialist, she has won the league with both Benfica and Sporting.
Date of birth: 20/05/1989
“Sissi” grew up in Lagarinhos, which is a tiny place with only around 500 inhabitants in the municipality of Gouveia, right next to the Serra da Estrela mountain range. She started her career at Fundação Laura Santos, but it was such a small club that, in addition to playing, she did the laundry and also worked as a van driver.
Things have moved on since then, though, and for the better. “I only started earning money from football at the age of 27,” she said. These days she is a respected member of the squad who has won more than 100 caps for her country.
Date of birth: 26/07/1998
Carole Costa may have scored the decisive penalty that qualified Portugal for the World Cup but it was the other central defender that day, Diana Gomes, who scored the first goal against Cameroon in the play-off in Hamilton. Received her football education in a slightly unorthodox way – on the family balcony, with her two older brothers.
After many, many hours there she was invited to play with the local club, and the rest is history. “When I was a child I remember dribbing around without any opponents and throwing myself to the ground as if I had been fouled although no one else was there,” she has said. “I was also commentating on what was happening. My mum thought I was crazy but I just told her that I was going to become a footballer."
Date of birth: 25/03/2001
An up-and-coming defender who is gaining a lot of experience in the shadow of Carole Costa and Sílvia Rebelo, both at Benfica and for the national team.
She is only 22 years old but has already made more than 100 appearances for the Eagles and won three league titles. Has had not much international experience but started with a bang: scoring on her debut. Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk is her role model.
Date of birth: 24/10/1996
Marchão’s father, Orlando, works in a library and she has got her love for books from him. Often seen to do a spot of reading in the dressing room before games, especially if she has got hold of a good fantasy book. Another pre-match ritual is listening to classical music, often Mozart, despite having a tattoo of Freddie Mercury on her arm. “My teammates call me old,” the left-back says with a smile.
Now at Parma after six years at Sporting, she was the subject of a television report by RTP when was only 12 years old because she was that good at football. She was dominating the boys but from then on she could no longer play in a mixed team and had to join a senior women’s team. She was so good that she was noticed by Sporting and Benfica, although they did not pursue anything when they realised she was a girl, not a boy.
Date of birth: 07/08/1991
“It is difficult to express what we feel right now,” Silva said among the tears of joy after Portugal had clinched their first appearance at a World Cup with a late 2-1 win over Cameroon. “It is a moment that we have been waiting for for several generations. I don’t think we quite know what we have done yet.” The Portugal captain grew up playing outside the family’s small grocery store with a hugely supportive dad and she dedicated her MVP award from the game against Scotland at Euro 2017 to him.
“I really wanted my father to see me at the Euros so I helped pay for his flight,” she said. “It was a dream to have him there as it was my first time at a Euro. As soon as I saw my dad I immediately gave him the award and said: 'This is yours for everything you've done for me.’ It was a very special moment.” A Spanish champion with Atlético Madrid in 2019, she is now with Braga in her home country. Has played pretty much her entire career with the No 14 shirt.
Date of birth: 16/01/1996
“I started playing with my brother but he didn’t like it when I joined in with the boys because he said I’d get hurt,” Pinto told the Portuguese FA. “He said that I took it very seriously.” That attitude, though, has taken her far. In the beginning she tried to combine football and triathlon but one day she felt sick in the water because of fatigue and decided to quit that sport.
Born in Madeira (like Cristiano Ronaldo), she completely lost the hearing in her right ear two years ago and had to have an operation to remove a benign tumour. She joined Alavés last summer after six years with Sporting and told Marca: “I didn’t know what cold was until I moved here.” She would like to return to Madeira when she finishes her football career and work as a tourist guide.
Date of birth: 28/03/1994
Has the name of her mum, Helena, tattooed on one of her arms. Pinto used to tell her mother that she was going to become a footballer but Helena passed away when Pinto was just 16 years old. “I screamed a lot. I cried a lot and I couldn't believe it. I remember crying and laughing at the same time because I couldn't believe it,” she told Tribuna Expresso.
“At that time it could have been very easy to get lost and go other ways, because I could have been angry, but luckily I clung to football.” Has played in Germany and England and, after five years with Sporting, joined Levante in Spain in 2021. Happy to play in different shirt numbers, as long as it is an uneven number.
Date of birth: 15/08/1996
As far as international debuts go, it was pretty special: Norton scored the winning goal that took Portugal to their first major tournament, Euro 2017. “It could not have been better,” she said. “My friends even called me the saviour of the country.” The daughter of a former Brazilian player (Pingo), who played for a few years in Portugal, Norton grew up playing barefoot on the streets of Ovar.
She had no contact with her father then and was raised by her grandmother and then her uncles. Incredibly she made her debut in the Portuguese top flight at just 13 years old and six years later she signed for Barcelona. Just before she left, though, misfortune struck in the shape of a knee injury, which required surgery. Sadly she did not play for Barcelona at all and returned to Portugal after a year.
Date of birth: 08/06/2002
Club: Real Sociedad
Jacinto’s football journey started with going to her brother’s training sessions every day, with her parents, where she couldn’t resist joining in. A Sporting fan she came through the club’s youth system and signed a professional contract in 2019, at the age of 17.
Included in the squad for Euro 2022 she had to pull out at just before the tournament because of injury. Last year she joined Real Sociedad and had to up her game. “Everything was quicker and there are no easy games,” she told Futbol Portugues. Also gained valuable Champions League experience playing in the qualifiers against Bayern Munich.
Date of birth: 17/11/2002
Kika in the world of football but Cisca or Francisca to her family, the 20-year-old has the potential to be a national team player for the next 10 or 15 years. Made her debut for Benfica at the age of 16 for Portugal three years ago at the age of 17. Her father says that she has so much energy she is “a world inside a small can of sardines” and she used to pretend she was president when younger. “She had her own country, her own language and an anthem,” her mother told the Portuguese FA TV channel.
Recently, when asked whether she would like to become Benfica president, she gave an example of her self-deprecating humour. “I normally take half an hour to decide what I am going to wear, imagine if I had to decide which players to sign.” She practically grew up on the stands of the Estádio da Luz and is now a fan-player, often leading the celebrations after a win, and has been to see the men’s team take on Sporting away from home.
Date of birth: 29/01/1998
Finished her degree in business management and even started working in the family company but became a professional player when she signed for Braga in 2021. Made her debut for the national team that year too and has continued to progress to earn a place in the World Cup squad.
When she received her first call-up she was still an amateur player and told Record: "I am probably the only player here who is not getting paid to play football. On the one hand that makes me a little bit anxious and nervous but on the other hand it makes me even more determined to make this the first call-up of many.”
Date of birth: 04/06/1995
Perhaps not the most punctual of players, according to her teammates, but she wasted no time at all with her career. At the age of 13 she was already playing for her hometown club Atlético Ouriense's boys' team before being promoted into the women’s first team. Has been with Sporting since 2016, save for a spell with Aston Villa in 2020-21, and is now the club’s all-time top scorer.
Despite this, she has struggled to come up with a good celebration for when she scores. “This season I decided to work on that and to come up with a celebration but I still have to improve,” she told Radio Comercial. “I am a bit inhibited in front of the cameras but I have to come up with something that works so that people realise that I am happy.” Has also had time to complete a pharmaceutical sciences course.
Date of birth: 11/12/1994
One of Portugal’s best ever players, she can’t wait to make her World Cup debut. “This really is a great moment in my career. It wasn't always easy for me. I’ve had to face many obstacles and fight to get here, and this is the moment I've always dreamed of," she said recently. Her father, Valter Silva, was a player for Belenenses among others and she grew up playing football with oranges in her grandmother's garden.
Sadly her father passed away before Silva had made her debut for the national team. She was the first Portuguese female player to win the Champions League, with Lyon in 2020, and has also played in Sweden, Spain and the United States. She is now back in Portugal with Benfica, the club she supported while growing up. Some of her silky, marauding runs have gone viral and there will be no better stage than the World Cup to showcase them to an even bigger audience.
Date of birth: 11/11/2002
As a little girl in Câmara de Lobos she had to be creative to make her own footballs. Sometimes she wrapped sheets of paper from old school notebooks in tape and she also trained with an old, flat basketball against a wall. It was very heavy but it helped her develop her excellent shooting technique. When she signed her first contract with Marítimo she asked to be paid in groceries to help out her family. A good option for Francisco Neto to have from the bench.
Date of birth: 27/11/1987
The daughter of a roller hockey coach, she played the sport until she was 20 years old and was even called up to the national team at youth level. She only started playing football at the age of 16 but proved so good that she was soon called up to the national youth teams in that sport too.
She never lost her love for roller hockey though and told Sábado: “After I had made my international debut for Portugal against Belgium I went to play a roller hockey game.” A player of tremendous longevity she has been with the national team since 2006 and has more than 100 caps for her country. Mendes scored the first goal for Portugal at the 2017 Euros and has played in Spain, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Iceland, but never lost her Alentejo accent.
Date of birth: 22/12/1997
These days Capeta thrives on scoring goals but did, in fact, start out as a goalkeeper. Her friend Pedro Fialho once told the Portuguese FA TV channel: “I remember she was in goal once but when she got to half-time she cried because she wanted to play in attack. The coach then put her up front and she scored a goal.”
When she got the call to ask whether she would be interested in joining her favourite team, Sporting, she thought it was a joke. She left to play for PSV and Famalicão but is now back where she belongs. Can be a little scattergun off the pitch and has paid to take her driving licence test three times but never turned up for any lessons.
Date of birth: 15/06/1990
Is the record caps holder for Portugal and will go down in history as one of the country’s most inspirational players. But she did not get off to the best of starts. Many, many years ago Sílvia Rebelo, now a Portugal teammate, convinced Borges to come to training at Fundação Laura Santos. The only problem was that Borges rocked up in jeans and trainers. “I didn't know exactly where I was going. First I didn't want to go, but in the end I didn't want to leave,” she told the Portuguese FA TV channel.
Between the ages of 18 and 26 she played abroad, in Spain, the United States and England and was part of the Chelsea team that won the first FA Cup final played at Wembley, in 2015. She likes to mark her sporting achievements with tattoos, and one of them is the date she assisted the goal that secured qualification for Portugal’s first tournament.