Portugal’s national football team will continue its quest for European glory tonight (June 30) at 8pm in a much-anticipated Euro 2016 clash against Poland at Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.
Neither team has lost a match in the competition so far, which suggests that the quarter-final game will be fierce and competitive.
“Poland is just as much a favourite to win as we are,” Portuguese manager Fernando Santos said in the pre-game press conference.
“I won’t play along with those who say we are the favourites. Poland is very strong. The players know that and so do I.”
“They are a team that defends and attacks very well. They are very fast in transition and also have players with great individual quality. We have to cancel out their strengths and try to explore their weaknesses,” the 61-year-old coach said.
Poland’s manager Adam Nawalka was also cautious in his choice of words, denying that Portugal is too heavily dependent on their top-star Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Football is a team game. No one player can decide the outcome of a match. Portugal have top class players throughout their team and we have to also focus on them.
“But what is clear is, when they recover possession, they counter very well. They’re a dangerous team and we’re expecting a very difficult match.”
Portugal reached the Euro 2016 quarter-finals after drawing their three group stage matches, qualifying as one of the four best third-placed teams.
In the round of 16, they eliminated Croatia in overtime with a dramatic goal at the 117th minute.
Poland has enjoyed a more prolific campaign. The team won two games and drew another against Germany in the group stage before knocking Switzerland out of the competition in their round of 16 match.
Whoever wins the match will face either Wales or Belgium in the semi-finals.