Pepe dropped from Portugal squad because of injury

Porto's Pepe, center, reacts at the end of the Champions League group B soccer match between FC Porto and Club Brugge at the Dragao stadium in Porto, Portugal, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 202. (AP Photo/Luis Vieira)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Veteran central defender Pepe will not play for Portugal in the Nations League because of an injury, the Portuguese soccer federation said Wednesday.

The federation said the decision was made after doctors evaluated Pepe following his arrival at the team’s training camp this week. It did not say what his injury was.

The 39-year-old Pepe last played with Porto in the team’s 4-0 loss at home to Club Brugge in the group stage of the Champions League on Sept. 13.

The federation did not say if coach Fernando Santos would call a replacement for Pepe.

João Félix and Bernardo Silva practiced separately as Portugal began its preparations, but they were expected to rejoin the rest of the group soon.

Portugal, winner of the inaugural edition of the Nations League in 2019, trails Spain by one point entering the final two games in Group 2 — at the Czech Republic on Saturday and against Spain at home three days later.

Only the group winners will advance to the Final Four.