June 28, 2016 7:16:33 pm
The Portuguese have had their backs to the wall in the competition so far, with goals generally hard to come by, but the players have dug in and appear to be starting to come alive.
“We have shown camaraderie and that we are all rowing in the same direction,” Nani said at Tuesday’s news conference. “I can certainly say that for me, this is the best time in the national team for the group that we have.
“This has been one of the factors that has proved that we are much stronger than before and that we are in a good condition to go as far as possible.”
Portugal have gone from a team who squeezed into the last 16 after three consecutive draws in Group F to one that upset in-form Croatia, 1-0, in the last round.
Nani, who is playing in his third European Championship since making his senior international debut in 2006, has started every game in France, scoring twice.
Portugal’s battling, resilient performance against Hungary, when they came from behind three times to draw 3-3, seems to have been a turning point.
“I think we have played good games, like against Hungary, where we scored lots of goals and gave an attacking exhibition,” said Nani, whose 100 appearances make him the fourth-most capped player in Portugal’s history.
“But it’s clear that it can’t always be like that.”
READ: Standings, Group stage classification
If Portugal have to eschew attractive football to win, Nani says they will. “Our aim is to go as far as possible and if we need to sacrifice playing well in order to do get a result, we will do so,” the Fenerbahce winger said.
Unbeaten Poland, who defeated Switzerland on penalties on Saturday, will be a big hurdle to clear. “There are no favourite teams in this tournament,” Nani said.
“We know that Poland is a strong side, with experienced players, and we will have to be at our best to go through.”
Monaco midfielder Joao Moutinho joined training on Tuesday morning after missing Monday’s session, while Raphael Guerreiro and Andre Gomes did gym work for a second successive day after suffering knocks against Croatia.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.