Bento takes over in Portugal

Former Portuguese international Paulo Bento was appointed coach of Portugal on Tuesday.

The Portuguese Football Federation said in a statement on its website that Bento has accepted a contract through to the 2012 European Championship. His only previous senior coaching experience was at Sporting Lisbon between 2005-09.

The 41-year-old Bento replaces Carlos Queiroz, who was fired earlier this month.

Queiroz’s departure came while he was serving a suspension for misconduct and after Portugal took only one point from its first two qualifying games for Euro 2012.

The federation tried unsuccessfully to hire Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho as an interim coach for its next qualifiers, against Denmark on Oct. 8 and Iceland four days later. Portugal is currently fourth in Group H with one point.

Bento led Sporting to two Portuguese Cup titles and four consecutive second-place finishes in the Portuguese league. He took Sporting to the UEFA Cup quarterfinals in 2008, and the team reached the last 16 of the Champions League the following year.

He quit in November 2009 after the club failed to win a league match in two months.

Bento made 35 appearances for Portugal as a defensive midfielder before retiring in 2003.