Portugal have no preference over semi-final foe

Portugal dismissed the feeble challenge posed by ultra-defensive Czech Republic and then coach Paulo Bento insisted he doesn't mind who they face next.

Cristiano Ronaldo capped a dazzling individual display, in which he twice struck the post, with the only goal of Portugal's 1-0 quarter-final victory.

Next up they will face either neighbours Spain or France, who meet in Saturday's quarter-final in Donetsk.

Spain are the holders in this competition, lifted the World Cup two years ago and are the number one team in the world.

France, on the other hand, are in the knock-out rounds of a major competition for the first time since reaching the 2006 World Cup final, where they lost to Italy on penalties.

At both the 2008 Euros and 2010 World Cup they failed to win a single game and crashed out in humiliating fashion.

And yet while the one appear to be far more fearful foes than the other, Bento says he doesn't mind which team Portugal get.

"In the semi-finals of a great tournament like this there are always great teams with different characteristics and players of great quality," said the 43-year-old former international defender, whose last experience of the Euros was in 2000 when he got a six month ban for ripping a red card out of the referee's hand in the bad-tempered climax to the semi-final with France.

"The teams are very organised and that's why I don't have any preference as to who we meet.

"We're through, we worked really hard to get here and now we must try to recover (physically) as much as possible and then we'll try to take to the field in the best conditions."

This may no longer be the golden generation of Portuguese talent -- which won successive FIFA World Youth Championships in 1989 and 1991 and went on to reach the Euro semi-finals in 2000 and the final in 2004, as well as a World Cup semi-final in 2006 -- but Bento is confident that his side can challenge anyone.

"I was never worried about these players because they have quality and work really hard," he said.

"I'm very confident in the 23 players of this squad and once again we'll show the necessary response (in the semis)."

Although Spain are undoubtedly the better side, Bento's indifference is perhaps related to Portugal's sorry history in semi-finals.

In the Euros of 1984 and 2000 and the 2006 World Cup they lost to France in the semi-finals while their only defeat to Spain in the knock-out rounds of a major competition was in the last 16 at the World Cup two years ago.

In either case, they've never beaten those teams in such an important match.

And to do so for the first time, they are going to need to play at least as well as they did against the Czechs.

Bento spoke about efficiency being the key to his side's quarter-final success and they will certainly need more of the same if they are to reach the final, as they did on home soil in 2004.

"We've always shown great efficiency in defence and that's why it's very well-deserved that we've qualified for the semi-finals," said Bento.

"The important thing (against the Czechs) was to create many possibilities and opportunities to shoot.

"This game was very different from the (group game) against Holland, we expected the Czechs to play deep.

"They pushed up against us when we went out of our half but then in the second half we had more opportunities to create chances."


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Noy to visit Canada, Japan
    Noy to visit Canada, Japan

    President Aquino will embark on a state visit to Canada in May and Japan in June to meet with his counterparts and promote Philippine interests. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino accepted the invitation from Canadian Governor General David Johnston to make a state visit to Canada from May 7 to 9. Tied to this trip is the President’s one-day working visit to the United States to meet with potential investors and with the local Filipino community in Chicago, Valte …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

  • Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th
    Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th

    Switzerland is the happiest country in the world, while the Philippines placed 90th, according to a global ranking of happiness unveiled in New York on Thursday. Switzerland was followed closely by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy. The United Nations published the first study in 2012. …

  • Asean leaders want binding sea code with China
    Asean leaders want binding sea code with China

    Southeast Asian leaders will seek to speed up plans for a binding code of conduct with China governing behavior in the disputed South China Sea at a summit next week, Malaysia’s foreign minister said Friday. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a massive flow of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to neighboring countries will also be discussed at the two-day summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which starts Monday. Anifah said leaders are expected to raise concerns …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options