In keeping with the scenic setting of Portugal's training camp, away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Poznan, there is an atmosphere of remarkable calm among the squad as the semi-final against Spain approaches. Whereas some have been here before, there is a sense of wonder and of a shared adventure for many, such as Custódio. When the 16 finalists announced their squads on 29 May, the midfielder was the oldest uncapped player named.
Football moves on quickly, and so has Custódio, 29. Four days later he made his debut for the Selecção das Quinas in the final pre-tournament friendly against Turkey, and has appeared twice at UEFA EURO 2012 as a late substitute in the wins against the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. He laughs off the suggestion from one journalist that he has become a lucky "talisman" for the team, though he has fast overcome the feeling of being a newcomer.
"We all share the same objectives," he said. "In that sense it doesn't matter who starts or ends the games." The SC Braga man, who celebrated his birthday in the first few days of the squad's pre-championship training camp at Obidos, knows he will almost certainly begin on the bench again for the Spain game, with consistency of selection key to coach Paulo Bento's plans.
"Our weapons aren't a secret," he said. "We use them every game, and we're going to play in the same style that we have in every other game so far. We'll try and be aggressive when we have the ball. We're very comfortable with the game plan and we believe in the coach's ideas."
Custódio is under no illusions about the task ahead against the holders and world champions in Donetsk on Wednesday. He singles out Andrés Iniesta as a "phenomenal player", but insists Portugal will take their opportunity to bring their own virtues to bear. "[Spain] have great quality," he added. "They're very good on the ball. When we have it, we have to be ready to show the quality that we have and show we're a great team too."
The former Sporting Clube de Portugal player knows the focus will be on his old club-mate Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal captain is set to face several of his Real Madrid CF colleagues; will that familiarity be enough for Spain to stop him? "Sincerely, I don't think so," Custódio said. "Everybody knows Cristiano and his qualities. He's the most complete player I know, both physically and technically."
Confidence has also been built by enjoying now familiar surroundings. "We didn't know much about Poland before we came here," Custódio explained. "But the training centre is great and everyone's been very good to us. When we've had the chance to go into the city [Poznan], we also found the people very kind and friendly." The locals share Custódio's hope that the team will say goodbye en route to the final in Kyiv.
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