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Bento: Portugal will be a problem for Spain

As Portugal face off against their fellow Iberians, team manager Paulo Bento insists his side will not fall into the same trap as France by retreating into their shells when they face reigning champions Spain in their Euro 2012 semifinal on Wednesday.

In a desperate attempt to upset Spain’s rhythm and blow them out of their usual assured pace, Les Bleus big boss Laurent Blanc made seemingly drastic changes to his initial line-up ahead of last week’s quarter-final. As expected, it was a plan that backfired.

With these lessons learned in observing another opponent, Bento is unyielding – he will stay consistent to the attacking frameworks which have put Portugal on the brink of reaching only the second major final in their history.

Bento said: “Our aim is not to defend all of the time. We can’t do this against the reigning world and European champions. We are aware it will be difficult but they know we can pose a lot of problems for them.”

“It is easy to get motivated because we have reached a semi-final in a way that was very good both in the qualification phase and group phase and then against the Czechs.

“This is the third semi-final we play in recent times and we have a great and beautiful opportunity. We are confident and this is why we work so hard to get to this situation. We have no anxiety. We are aware of our responsibility to our people.”

Although Portugal was able to beat Spain in their most recent encounter, a 4-0 friendly victory in Lisbon shortly after La Roja took the 2010 World Cup, the Seleccao have never defeated their fellow Iberians outside their country.

The manager brushed off the impression that Portugal may hold a psychological advantage as a result of that friendly win, but insisted his charges are perfectly placed to create history.

He said: “We have identity and we have a chance to reach our second final and create history. That’s why I have confidence in the work of all of the players in of our squad.

What do you think?

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