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Portugal thriving under pressure, says Podstawski

High expectations are the main reason for Portugal's successful showings in Hungary according to captain Tomás Podstawski, adding: "We always play to win."

Portugal captain Tomás Podstawski scores against Austria
Portugal captain Tomás Podstawski scores against Austria ©Sportsfile

Portugal are keen not to break a winning habit as they head into Monday's UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-final against defending champions Serbia.

Hélio Sousa's men have won nine games out of nine in this year's competition. Confidence is therefore understandably high, and there is little to suggest they cannot extend that streak to a perfect ten in Felcsut on Monday. "Our expectations are such that we always play to win all our matches," said captain Tomás Podstawski, who opened his own account in the 2-1 win against Austria.

That result secured first place in Group A and set up a meeting with last year's winners. Portugal need no reminding that it is a repeat of the semi-final between the two nations 12 months ago. "We are ready to play against anybody because we are motivated, confident and feel very proud of ourselves," the midfielder added.

It is not only the results that Podstawski and his team-mates can take pleasure in; Portugal have also been playing some of the most attractive, tactically astute and efficient football in Hungary. As Marcos Lopes told UEFA.com after their opening 3-0 victory against Israel, this is the result of more than two years playing together, and now is the time for that group to put the finishing touch to a successful cycle.

Podstawski (left) and Marcos Lopes in training
Podstawski (left) and Marcos Lopes in training©Sportsfile

"We have proved that we're growing as a team and we are getting stronger by the game; now we're looking forward to our next one," Podstawski confirmed. "We're proud of our three games so far. The first one we won 3-0, then we played very, very well in our second game [a 6-1 win over Hungary]. The third was harder as it was very physical, but again we were strong at the important moments."

Those nine consecutive wins breed confidence and Portugal are understandably riding the crest of a wave right now. Ensuring they have the energy and strength to carry on is the prime concern, but Podstawski is taking that in his stride. "We will just recover as we always have," he told UEFA.com. "Together we all help each other and we'll be 100% for our next game. Of course when you win it's not the same as when you draw or lose, and we play every game to win. We're playing well and that makes us confident."