Gabon - Portugal Preview: Bento looks to rejuvenate inconsistent Seleccao

Following a 1-1 draw at home to Northern Ireland in their last outing, Portugal will hope to refind their best form in this friendly against African opposition

Mouele, Pongui, Nzambe, Sambou
Tandjigora, Branger
, Engonga, Kanga
Rogombe, Cousin

Pereira, Alves, Pepe, Lopes
Veloso, Micael
Varela, Moutinho, Barbosa

Just four months after reaching the semi-final stage of Euro 2012 and Portugal's friendly with Gabon has suddenly become a game of great importance for Seleccao coach Paulo Bento.

Rather than riding the wave of optimism that followed his side's efforts over the summer - in which they came within a penalty kick of reaching the final of the tournament - Portugal have instead suffered something of a hangover.

Just seven points have been mustered from their opening four 2014 World Cup qualification games, leaving them in third place in Group F and making Wednesday's friendly a welcome pit-stop from a downwards spiral of competitive form.

Experimentation is likely to be the theme of the evening and, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Nani ruled out through injury alongside Fabio Coentrao and Raul Meireles, there will be the opportunity to tinker and find a solution to their current woes.

Silvio Pereira, Hugo Almeida, Ricardo Costa, Paulo Machado and Helder Barbosa have all been handed call-ups and will all be given the opportunity to impress.

Gabon go into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Togo and 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in their last two fixtures, and with former Rangers striker Daniel Cousin in their ranks, they do have a goalscoring threat in their armoury.

  • Portugal have won three, lost one and drawn one of their last five games.
  • Of their four friendlies in 2012, Seleccao have scored their highest percentage of goals in the final 15 minutes of matches.
  • Portugal faced Spain in the semi-final of last summer's European Championships, but were beaten 4-2 on penalties.
  • Wednesday evening will be the first ever meeting between Gabon and Portugal.
  • Gabon have endured a mixed run of form of late, with just two victories from their last five matches.
  • Gabon co-hosted the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations alongside Equatorial Guinea.
  • The west African country were knocked out of the competition by Mali on penalties at the quarter-final stage, after winning all three of their Group C matches.
  • Gabon striker Daniel Cousin is currently a free agent, but has nine goals in 30 appearances for his country.