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Pepe talks up Portugal´s Euros credentials

Pepe believes Portugal have what it takes to win Euro 2016 as they prepare to open their campaign against newcomers Iceland on Tuesday.

Fernando Santos’ team were beaten by eventual winners Spain in the semi-finals of the previous European Championship, having lost the final on home soil to Greece in 2004.

With the team led on the field by Pepe’s Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, the experienced defender is optimistic ahead of the game against debutants Iceland in Saint-Etienne.

“We have everything we need to reach the final and win it,” he told UEFA’s website.

“It will be tough. Of course we know it will be very difficult, because there are other teams with lots of quality and even more experience than Portugal, as they’ve played in lots of finals. 

“But we’re very ambitious and hungry like all the other teams.”

After exiting the World Cup two years ago in the group stage under Paulo Bento, Pepe believes the arrival of former Greece boss Fernando Santos has been a key factor in the team’s improvement. 

“We were missing the kind of experience our manager has,” he said.

“We’ve all learned a lot from him. In the end, we will have to take it one step at a time to achieve our goals. I think we’re on the right track.”

The Brazilian-born 33-year-old is also hopeful the recent regular season successes enjoyed by some of Portugal’s players can transfer to the international stage.

“We are high on confidence,” he said.

“A lot of our players have won trophies at club level. Myself and Ronaldo won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid and it’s good to have this winning mentality in a squad.”

Mon 13 Jun, 2016
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