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Beto backs Portugal to hold firm

Published: Monday 28 June 2004, 15.12CET
Defender Beto insists Portugal can contain the threat of in-form Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooij when the two sides meet on Wednesday.
by Jorge Vicente
from Alcochete
 
Published: Monday 28 June 2004, 15.12CET

Beto backs Portugal to hold firm

Defender Beto insists Portugal can contain the threat of in-form Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooij when the two sides meet on Wednesday.

Defender Beto insists Portugal have what it takes to contain the threat of in-form Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooij when the two sides meet at the Estádio José Alvalade on Wednesday.

'Self-belief'
"We know we will be up against a strong team, with good players, but we believe in ourselves and will try everything to win this difficult battle," Beto said. "Portugal have great defenders so, of course, we can stop one of the greatest strikers in the world."

'More anxiety'
Beto is yet to make an appearance in the tournament and the UEFA EURO 2000™ and 2002 FIFA World Cup veteran is itching to get into the action. "I've been suffering more than those who are playing, because there's more anxiety on the bench than when you're on the pitch," he said.

Supporting role
But the 28-year-old Sporting Clube de Portugal defender is content to play a supporting role, as long as the team is winning. "Of course I want to play, but in this group, the players who have not been selected have the task of supporting those who are playing," he said.

Rest days
After consecutive wins against Russia, Spain and England, Portugal have every reason to look forward to their semi-final with confidence, and with two extra days' rest compared to the Netherlands, who beat Sweden to advance on Saturday, they may even have the physical edge too.

'Good advantage'
"It is a good advantage," conceded Beto, "but we will have to prove it on the pitch. Either way, there is no such thing as a perfect team, and we will try to discover the Dutch weaknesses."

Impressive Czechs
Potential final opponents, the Czech Republic, know all about those having beaten Dick Advocaat's side in the group stage, and Beto admitted he has been impressed by their progress so far. "The Czech Republic have impressed me most," he said. "They played brilliantly in such a difficult group and are in great form."

Frisk in charge
Beto, capped 31 times by Portugal, also applauded the appointment for Wednesday's semi-final of the Swedish referee Anders Frisk, who also took charge of Portugal's Group A deciding victory against Spain.

'Same result'
"The Portuguese players will have to be focused on the match and just let the referee do his job," Beto said, before adding with a grin: "I just hope the result will be the same as in his last appearance in one of our games."

 
Last updated: 28/06/04 17.12CET

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