UEFA Euro 2012: Bento admits pressure is on Portuguese

Updated: 13 June 2012 19:48 IST

The pressure is growing on Portugal given their opening Euro 2012 loss to Germany, coach Paulo Bento admitted Tuesday on the eve of his side's Group B encounter with Denmark in Lviv.

UEFA Euro 2012: Bento admits pressure is on Portuguese
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Lviv:

The pressure is growing on Portugal given their opening Euro 2012 loss to Germany, coach Paulo Bento admitted Tuesday on the eve of his side's Group B encounter with Denmark in Lviv.

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With their recent record against the Danes reading only one win in four - the Scandinavians denied the Portuguese automatic qualification for the tournament - Bento insisted: "We may have won only one of those four but we are confident. We are not thinking about the past. We have to win.

"There is more pressure than before the match against Germany and tomorrow we will be up against a tough opponent, so we shall have to impose our game from the outset.

"Denmark's situation is more comfortable, with less pressure on. Our strategy always is tailored to who we are playing. We will have to be ready - there are 90 minutes and we have to win."

Bento, the youngest coach at the tournament and who turns 43 on June 20, insisted that the Portuguese can come good.

"We have no reason to be anxious. We lost our opening game to one of the favourites but we lost playing well. We didn't deserve to lose," said Bento, who replaced Carlos Queiroz in September 2010 after a disappointing start to the qualifiers.

Bento, whose last memory of the Euro as a player is none too good as he ended up with a five month ban after he threatened the referee in the Euro 2000 semi-final against eventual winners France, said his team needed to have more cutting edge and more possession but insisted that history showed losing the first game does not have to be fatal.

"We lost our first game at Euro 2004 but we reached the final," said Bento - though the upward curve in between those games turned down again when they lost the trophy game to Greece, their opening day conquerors.

Bento said he was not surprised the Danes had managed to beat Holland.

"They did not surprise me - even playing a strong side such as the Dutch Denmark showed they are very organised and they were able to close down the spaces."

Asked which team were favourites to win the match Bento said: "We are very evenly matched and the teams have the same ambitions. Of course Saturday's results make Denmark slight favourites. But we know we have beaten them once (in a home qualifier) and what you can do once you can do again."

Bento meanwhile defended under-fire striker Helder Postiga, without confirming he will start against the Danes.

"Helder was the second best scorer in the qualifiers for Portugal (with five goals) behind Cristiano Ronaldo (7).

"I have seen the game again and in my view we made sufficient effort and could have got a result - but that has nothing to do with the presence or not of Helder in the starting line-up," Bento insisted.

"Be it Helder, Hugo Almeida or Nelson Oliveira, no matter - I have confidence in my three strikers."

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