Portugal must copy Euro 2004 spirit, says Ronaldo

AFP, Sunday 10 Jun 2012

Captain insists his team have to turn back the clock if they want to reach the championship's final after losing their opening game 1-0 to Germany

Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the pitch dejected after the Euro 2012 soccer championship Group B match between Germany and Portugal in Lviv (Photo: AP)

A second-half header from German striker Mario Gomez was enough to give Joachim Loew's team the three points in Group B at the Lviv Arena on Saturday.

After Denmark's shock 1-0 win over World Cup finalists Holland earlier on Saturday, Ronaldo's Portugal are now under pressure to win their next Group B game against the Danes back in Lviv on Wednesday.

But Ronaldo, who once again failed to transfer his club form onto the international stage, is calling for his team to emulate the spirit of the Euro 2004 team which lost their opening game 2-1 to eventual-winners Greece, but still went onto reach the final, where they lost 1-0 to the Greeks in Lisbon.

The Portuguese had their chances against the Germans with Real Madrid's Pepe rattling the crossbar just before the half-time break.

Then replacement Silvestre Varela of Porto was only denied a late equaliser following a fine save from Manuel Neuer and some desperate German defending, but Portugal are yet to taste victory in 2012 after four winless games.

"We were better than Germany," Real star Ronaldo told uefa.com.

"Now we have to pick ourselves up and continue.

"We have to take as an example the team of 2004, when we also started with a defeat, but then reached the final.

"In the second half, the Germans had virtually one chance, while we hit the bar twice and had some big opportunities.

"There was a lot of bad luck and a lot of frustration because we knew we deserved more - a win or a draw.

"We have been playing well for several games and just haven't had the luck with our finishing.

"Anyone who watched the match will have seen that we were better than Germany, and the chances speak for themselves.

Team-mate Pepe said Portugal have the class to qualify from the pool - which has been dubbed "The Group of Death".

"We created a lot more chances," said the Madrid star.

"I thought we played at a high level but the ball just did not want to go in.

"We're sad about the result but still believe we can go through.

"There are four high-quality teams in our group (and) we have showed we're capable of getting through if we continue to play as we did today - we just need the luck.

"In the first half, Germany didn't cause us many problems, but they came into it in the second half and scored.

"Unfortunately it's not always the best team that wins."

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