Portugal begin their UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 bid on Thursday knowing victory against the Netherlands would take them straight into the quarter-finals.
The Netherlands opened Group B with a 7-1 loss to Russia on Tuesday and another defeat would end their campaign, leaving Portugal and the 2012 runners-up through with just first place to decide. However, Portugal coach Jorge Braz knows full well that the Dutch, who were playing their first finals game in nine years, were not at their best against Russia.
"I watched the match between Russia and the Netherlands, but it wasn't the real Netherlands," Braz told UEFA.com. "Their players played in a very shy and tentative fashion. If you don't show intensity against a team like Russia everything gets more complicated. Their team fell asleep and they conceded two or three goals in a very naïve way. Then, with all the goals flying in, they just gave up fighting."
Missing suspended Arnaldo, Braz added: "We don't have to worry about what happened in the first match. The only thing that matters to us is our own games, even more when there's little or nothing to take from such a one-sided match like [Russia v Netherlands]. We know the Netherlands pretty well and we are aware of their weaknesses and strengths. My team is showing a very positive attitude and they can't wait to start the tournament."
Netherlands coach Marcel Loosveld was realistic about his side's chances before the tournament, knowing they were taking on the beaten finalists in the last two editions. Approaching the Portugal match aware another reverse would mean his team become the first to be eliminated, Loosveld is trying to pick up his players.
"Of course, we will prepare and try to get the best out of it, but we know Portugal are a great team," he said. "It will be difficult for us to get any result again.
"I hope we can do something with the players psychologically. They will want to play on Thursday in a different way, of course. I am disappointed [after the Russia loss] but not angry with my players. I am a futsal insider and I know the critical factors in getting any result."