João Pinto knows a thing or two about Portuguese football having represented his country 81 times during a 20-year career and scored in the UEFA EURO 2000 group stage triumph against England. Now, as Paulo Bento's charges prepare to take on the Czech Republic, the former SL Benfica, Sporting Clube de Portugal and SC Braga forward gave his view on the current crop and drew parallels with the side which reached the final in 2004.
@adamsummerton: How highly do you rate Nélson Oliveira and how optimistic are you about the next generation of Portugal players?
João Pinto: The work that has gone into developing our youth system has been recognised by everyone. Our youngsters are preparing themselves to reach the senior level and that guarantees us a bright future. Having said that, we must continue to work hard to develop the quality of our players and squads. It's a never-ending job.
@adrianMUFC and @goralpatel: What are the similarities or differences between the EURO 2004 and EURO 2012 teams?
João Pinto: There's nothing different in terms of quality. Different players, different coach, but the quality remains the same, and that is the most important thing. I hope we can maintain that standard in the future and I feel very positive about it.
Portuguese teams have showcased the best of our country's football and I'm not only talking about the national team, because the clubs have achieved very important things in recent years. The team that reached the final back in 2004 was full of quality players and this is the case again in 2012 – there is no better proof of our ability to create great talent despite being a small country.
@therealptp: How did you become so dangerous with your head?
João Pinto: There's no real secret to it. Day after day I practiced the technical part of heading. I focused on getting to the ball before my opponents and I wasn't afraid of fighting for a ball in the air despite being short. The fact that I could jump very high also helped a lot.
@mjdflavell: Who is the greatest Portuguese player of all time - Cristiano Ronaldo or Eusébio?
João Pinto: I leave those sorts of questions for others and I'm sure with time you will find it written in history books. All I have to say on the matter is that those two players and other Portuguese players are right at the top of the world when it comes to football.
@fan_zidane: What should youngsters do to become a legend of the game?
João Pinto: They need to have a lot of passion for the game and love what they do. They should give everything they have, be fully committed and, above all, believe in their own ability. If you don't believe in yourself you won’t go very far in the sport.
@FCPortoWorld: What is your greatest Portuguese footballing moment?
João Pinto: At senior level and when it comes to the national team, I have to say that I will never forget EURO 2000. It was an amazing experience and it will stay with me for the rest of my life.
@shiyingyang: Who is the biggest threat to Spain as the defending champions?
João Pinto: There are no weak or easy teams at an event like this and everybody will be eager to beat the reigning European and world champions.
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