By Stephen Byrne
The Fifa World Cup begins in Brazil on 12th June and we will be looking at Rovers’ connections with all participating countries.
The Euro 2004 runners-up, Portugal, have a few connections with the parochial world of Bristol Rovers. Terry Cooper, the Leeds United full-back, who was later both a player and a manager at Rovers, won his twentieth and last England cap against Portugal in November 1974.
This goalless draw at Wembley featured, in fact, three England internationals who were to represent Rovers later in their careers, as Gerry Francis and Mick Channon also started. Cooper played for Rovers from July 1979 until November 1981, playing in 53 (plus six as sub) League matches, without scoring.
Colin Dobson, a winger who helped Rovers to promotion from Division Three in 1973-74, was later a coach at Sporting Lisbon from 1987. Dobson was on Rovers' books from June 1972 until May 1976 as player-coach and appeared in 62 League matches, scoring four goals.
Tony Sealy, who played under Dobson's coaching at Sporting Lisbon, was a Rovers player from September 1989 until May 1991, helping the club to the Third Division championship in 1989-90. He scored seven goals in 21 (plus sixteen as sub) League games with Rovers.
Sealy had joined Sporting Lisbon in July 1987 and he played in thirty games in the Portuguese League, scoring nine times. He also scored four goals in the European Cup Winners' Cup, alongside the Brazilian striker Paulinho Cascavel. In August 1988 he moved within Portugal to play for SC Braga.
Moussa Dagnogo, whose brief Rovers career amounted to two substitute appearances in 2000-01, had spent much of the previous season with the Portuguese First Division side União Madeira.
The tallest opponent Rovers have faced in the Football League was Hugo Rodrigues, who was born in the Portuguese town of Santa Maria de Feira in November 1979. Measuring 6' 8", Rodrigues started Yeovil Town's 1-0 win at the Memorial Stadium in December 2004 and came on as substitute in their 4-0 victory at Huish Park in March 2005.
Several other Portuguese players have opposed Rovers. The midfielder Carlos Fangueiro, born in Portugal in December 1976, played against Rovers for both Millwall and Walsall.
Lisbon-born José Dominguez, a former Benfica player, played for Birmingham City in both fixtures in 1994-95. Ricardo Batista, formerly of Vitoria Setubal, was in goal for Wycombe Wanderers against Rovers in August 2006.
Mauro Almeida, formerly of Porto, played for Accrington Stanley in the 1-1 draw in March 2007. Dani Rodrigues, with Farense in 1998-99, played for Bristol City in a Trophy game against Rovers in January 2002.
Jose Vitor Semedo, a former Sporting Lisbon, Casa Pie and Feirense player, appeared twice for Charlton Athletic against Rovers in 2009-10.
The 2007-08 League Cup run took in Portuguese opponents in the form of Palace's José Fonte, on loan from Benfica, Jose Veiga (Macclesfield, Benfica and Alverca), Sido Jombati (Cheltenham Town and Sporting Lisbon), and West Ham's Luis Boa Morte.
Felipe Alexandre Morais, born in Benavente in November 1985, played for Oldham Athletic against Rovers in February 2011 and Bruno Andrade for Wycombe Wanderers against Rovers in December 2012.
This list includes two Portuguese internationals who have opposed Rovers. Jose Dominguez of Birmingham City won three full caps for his country, while West Ham’s Luis Boa Morte played on 28 occasions, scoring his only goal against Angola in November 2001.
Other opponents have also tried their luck in Portuguese football, notably Rui Marques (Leeds United and Maritimo), Ronnie Allen (Port Vale, Crystal Palace and Sporting Lisbon), Phil Walker (Millwall, Charlton Athletic, Leixoes, Boavista and Maia), Padraig Amond (Accrington Stanley and Pacos de Ferreira), Isidro Diaz (Wigan Athletic, Leca and Chaves), John Richards (Wolves and Maritimo), Earl Jean (Plymouth Argyle and four Portuguese clubs), Jorg Smeets (Wigan Athletic and Maritimo), Paul Murray (Carlisle United and Beira-Mar), Brian Deane (Doncaster Rovers and Benfica), Mickey Walsh (Blackpool, Porto, Salgueiros and Espinho), Andy Marriott (Wrexham, Exeter City and Beira-Mar), Nigel Jemson (Preston North End and several clubs in Portugal), Peter Borota (Chelsea, Benfica and Porto), Toni Silva (Benfica and Northampton Town), Bontcho Guentchev (Luton Town and Sporting Lisbon), Mehdi Kerrouche (Swindon Town, Oxford United and Naval), Walter Otta (Walsall, CD Nacional and CF União), Marek Saganowski (Southampton and Guimaraes), Eric Tinkler (Barnsley and Uniao de Tomar), Tope Obadeyi (Plymouth Argyle) and Bobby Robson, who played five times for Fulham against Rovers between 1953 and 1956 and was manager of Sporting Club de Portugal (1993-94) and Porto (1994-96).
Dean Saunders, who scored in both FA Cup-ties for Liverpool against Rovers in February 1992, was with Benfica in the 1998-99 season. Mick Wadsworth was manager of Hartlepool United against Rovers in 2010-11, having been manager at Beira-Mar in 2005-06.
Charlie Bell (1894-1939), Bournemouth’s manager against Rovers from 1936 to 1939, had been manager at Sporting Club de Portugal from 1919-22 and 1928-30. Keith Burkinshaw, who scored an own goal in Rovers’ favour in March 1966 when with Scunthorpe United, was manager of Sporting Club de Portugal in 1987-88.