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Almeida happy to fly under the radar

SoccerNews in European Championships 27 Jun 2012

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Hugo Almeida has revealed he will lead the line for Portugal in Wednesday’s Euro 2012 semi-final clash with Spain.

Almeida, who plays for Besiktas, made his first appearance at the European Championship when he replaced the injured Helder Postiga against the Czech Republic in his team’s 1-0 quarter-final win.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the decisive goal and Almeida said he would be happy to see the Real Madrid star receive the attention of the Spanish defence at the Donbass Arena.

“Cristiano, being the best player in the world, has just been outstanding,” Almeida told Goal.com. “He is having a great tournament and it does not bother us if they talk about him. We are a unit and as a unit we are playing very well.

“They also have to be worried about us. Portugal have a good team and we will do everything to reach the final.

“The team has been playing better and better as time goes, since we have more time to train together. We are playing as a unit and it shows on the pitch.

“And against the world champions I hope we will be able to show our best game and qualify for the final. However, it won’t be easy and we need to take advantage of our opportunities.”

Paulo Bento’s side have the opportunity to avenge the 1-0 loss to Spain at the 2010 World Cup by continuing the form that saw them emerge from a group containing Germany, Netherlands and Denmark, and Almeida insisted they should not fear the world and European champions.

He said: “Every game is more difficult than the other. However, we were in the most difficult group of the competition and we did fairly well.

“I believe the four teams that are in the semi-finals deserve to be here. All of them are playing good football now.”

A win over Vicente del Bosque’s side will put Portugal into their first final since the Euro 2004 loss to Greece, but Almeida refused to look too far ahead.

“First of all, we need to beat Spain, which is not easy,” the 28-year-old said. “Then, as you know, there is no favourite opponent since Italy and Germany are great teams. But I don’t want to look ahead. We must beat the world champions first.

“Spain have a great team with great players. They will always be strong, but I think Portugal are also strong and have everything to come out the winner of this match.

“It has been a great Euros. I just hope we can end up as the champions.”

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