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Tuesday, Jul 07th

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Portugal’s veteran defender Pepe believes they have everything needed to reach the Euro final and win it. They are scheduled to kick-off their opening group stage game against Iceland on Wednesday.

"We have everything we need to reach the final and win it. It will be tough. Of course we know it will be very difficult, because there are other teams with lots of quality and even more experience than Portugal, as they've played in lots of finals," Pepe was quoted as saying by uefa.com.

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Losing finalists in 2004 and three-times beaten-semifinalists Portugal have a sense of unfinished business at the Euro football tournament. At Euro 2016 they are seeking a first international trophy and, with one of the most exciting blends of youth and experience in the tournament, the timing feels right. It is a notion that finds favour with forward Eder.

 

"That's what we're working towards. We've got huge ambition and we want to get the right results. We're very confident and motivated. We had an excellent qualifying campaign, with great results,' he was quoted as saying by uefa.com on Sunday.

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The Portuguese football team arrived here for the Euro 2016 on Thursday on a plane named after the legendary Eusebio. The team is expected to go from Paris to Marcoussis, where it will have its camp during Euro 2016, which starts on Friday, reports Efe.

Portugal, captained by Real Madrid star forward Cristiano Ronaldo, will make their Group F debut against Iceland on June 14. Austria and Hungary are also in Group F.

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This World Cup continues to be one of the greatest ones in recent memory, as Portugal equalized with the last kick of the game to draw 2-2 against USA. Jurgen Klinsmann will be hugely disappointed as the United States were on the verge of qualification to the round of 16 before Cristiano Ronaldo broke their hearts with a peach of a cross, keeping Portugal alive in this Group of Death.

Nani opened the scoring with his first goal for club and country in 2014 early on as Geoff Cameron’s scuffed clearance put him in a one-on-one position with Tim Howard. He duly obliged, but it wouldn’t be erroneous to state that the response from United States was nothing short of stirring.

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The long road to Brazil 2014 entered its final leg yesterday when the European sides kick started the play-offs for the remaining four spots. All eyes were undoubtedly on the Ronaldo v Zlatan clash at the Estadio Da Luz where Portugal welcomed Sweden in a blockbuster tie. The Real Madrid superstar came out trumps against the PSG striker on the night, scoring a late winner to seal a 1-0 victory for Portugal.

Portugal’s World Cup hopes always rested on the shoulders of their talismanic captain and he failed to disappoint the home crowd as he dived low to meet Miguel Veloso’s cross eight minutes from time to give his side a slender lead going into the 2nd leg on Tuesday. The two sides canceled each other for most of the game, with Sweden making the early running though Johan Elmander and Kim Kallstrom while the home side spurned a great early chance through Joao Moutinho.

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It was a long and frustrating night for Fabio Capello and his men, as they travelled all the way to Lisbon only to be suffer a 1-0 defeat by an inspired Portugal side. Although only a single goal separated the two big teams of Group F, the game was by no means dull. The quality of the Russian side was well matched by an inspired display of football by Portugal in front of their home crowd.

This game was a must-win match for Portugal to keep their dream of World Cup qualification alive, and with Cristiano Ronaldo making it to the starting XI after shaking off a back injury, it was a huge boost for the Portuguese side, who were already missing Pepe through suspension. Paolo Bento also chose to leave Nani on the bench, in favor of the talented winger Vierinhia.

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Chelsea’s hopes of re-hiring Jose Mourinho as their messiah has increased considerably over the last few weeks and the Special One has made his demands leak out through the tabloids. The Mirror reports that the current Real Madrid boss wants a pay rise, promise of Champions League football and a new contract for Frank Lampard if Chelsea are to pry him away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Chelsea’s season is taking its usual end of the season upward turn as the Blues suddenly find themselves with a great chance of winning two major competitions. But the true reflection of Chelsea’s season will be their presence in the Champions League next season and Roman Abramovich’s hopes of landing a big-name manager, be it Jose Mourinho or David Moyes, will depend solely on the Top Four finish.

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