Pereira - Final within reach

Portugal defender in confident mood ahead of Spain clash

Last Updated: June 24, 2012 4:19pm
Joao Pereira: Believes Portugal are capable of toppling Spain
Joao Pereira: Believes Portugal are capable of toppling Spain

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Joao Pereira claims Portugal have no reason to feel inferior to Spain ahead of their Euro 2012 semi-final, with both sides capable of going all the way.

Two sides loaded with potential match-winners will go head-to-head on Wednesday in a contest which promises to provide plenty of attacking endeavour.
Spain, as the reigning European champions, are considered to be the side to beat, but Portugal have offered enough to suggest that they cannot be written off.
Sporting Lisbon defender Pereira refuses to accept that they are underdogs, with anything possible once you reach the latter stages of a major tournament and the pressure starts to intensify.
"Each side has a 50 per cent chance (of qualifying for the final)," he said.
"We must have a healthy respect for Spain, but we are not going to respect them too much, because we too have great players, of great value to us."
Portugal suffered a 1-0 defeat by Germany in their opening game of Euro 2012, but have established momentum since then and are now going in search of a fourth successive victory.


"Even if we started badly, we have improved a lot," added Pereira.
"I hope we will be even more confident against Spain. It will be important not to commit errors, because they will pounce on those.
"The best thing would be to succeed in pressing them and us retaining possession.
"Obviously that could prove difficult because Spain love playing the passing game, and if they play with six midfielders like they have done, it will be tough to score."
While in optimistic mood heading into the Spain encounter, Pereira insists he has not allowed himself to dream of lifting the trophy.
"It is for certain that when one reaches a semi-final you think of the final as it is within reach," he said.
"But we know the semi-final will not be an easy game. It is imperative not to think of the final while playing the semi-final. Normally that means things don't go well."

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