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Portugal set for home-from-home EURO

"It will be like playing at home because of the Portuguese community over there," said Portugal coach Fernando Santos after his side confirmed their place in France.

Portugal celebrate confirming their place in the finals
Portugal celebrate confirming their place in the finals ©AFP/Getty Images

Thursday's 1-0 victory against Denmark has confirmed Portugal as Group I winners, João Moutinho's 66th-minute strike enough to book their place at UEFA EURO 2016.

Hosts and losing finalists at UEFA EURO 2004, Portugal last missed a UEFA European Championship in 1992 and have yet to bow out at the group stage at a final tournament. However, their path to France was not an easy one, a 1-0 home loss to Albania in their opening game prompting the departure of coach Paulo Bento.

Under Fernando Santos's tutelage they won their next six qualifiers, though never by more than a one-goal margin, Cristiano Ronaldo's five goals – including a hat-trick in Armenia – rescuing them more than once.

Reaction
Fernando Santos, Portugal coach
Credit has to go to the players – the ones here and the others that played throughout the campaign. They all want to be here, they all want to put in the effort, and that was the key to qualifying. Playing in France will be great for us. It will be like playing at home because of the Portuguese community there.

When I took over, they said it would be easy to qualify, and it looks that way now – but believe me, it wasn't. Of course, I would prefer to win every game by three or four goals, but the truth is that winning is the most important thing. This team has showed class in other areas despite lacking a bit in the final third.

João Moutinho, Portugal midfielder
I thank the public, who stood by us from the first until the last minute. I'm happy about my goal but the whole team should be applauded for their efforts. We all fought and left everything out on the field. Congratulations to everyone on this qualification.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal forward
It has been a tough campaign which started badly but ended on a high. Fernando Santos's arrival did us good. It is also a good thing not to have to rely on other results. We are a team who gamble and want to win.

Nani, Portugal winger
We managed to achieve something we have been working towards for a long time. Congratulations to the team for what we have accomplished. We managed to change our mentality from previous campaigns where we had to go through the play-offs. Now we want to go to France and win the tournament.

Key stats
Final tournaments: 6 (most recent 2012)
Best result: runners-up 2004
Coach: Fernando Santos
Leading scorers: all-time – Cristiano Ronaldo (55); current – Cristiano Ronaldo (55)
Most appearances: all-time – Luís Figo (127); current – Cristiano Ronaldo (123)

Record EURO appearances
Overall: Cristiano Ronaldo (41)
Final tournament: Luís Figo, Nuno Gomes, Cristiano Ronaldo (14)

Record EURO goals
Overall: Cristiano Ronaldo (26)
Final tournament: Nuno Gomes, Cristiano Ronaldo (6)

Last updated 08/10/15