Luiz Felipe Scolari's confidence that Portugal will beat Germany in Thursday's Euro 2008 quarter-final was underlined on the eve of the match when the Brazilian coach revealed his starting line-up.
Scolari, who also appealed to UEFA to let banned German coach Joachim Loew take his place on the bench, confirmed he intended to revert to the line-up that beat Turkey and the Czech Republic in his squad's first two matches in the tournament.
Those wins wrapped up first place in group A, allowing Scolari to make eight changes for the final group game against Switzerland, which his side dominated but lost 2-0.
None of the players who came in for that match made sufficient impact to break into the first XI.
Asked if he had considered changes for the German match, Scolari said: “I could, but I'm not going to change anything. In principle it will be the same team.”
Scolari's decision means Nuno Gomes will lead the attack with Cristiano Ronaldo and Simao operating either side of him, with back-up wingers Nani and Ricardo Quaresma on the bench.
Armando Petit and Joao Moutinho will anchor the midfield with Deco in the playmaker role while Jose Bosingwa, Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe and Paulo Ferreira make up the back four in front of goalkeeper Ricardo.
In a relaxed, bullish display at his pre-match press conference, Scolari, who is due to take over as manager of Chelsea on July 1, said he had faith in his players.
“I don't expect it to be my last game with Portugal,” he said. “Everything we have done is one with one objective (to get to the final).”
Scolari added: “I have the utmost respect for Germany but I trust my team and I think we are going to go through.”
Portugal's status as one of the favourites to go on and win the tournament is largely based on Ronaldo's current status as the most destructive attacking force in world football.
Scolari revealed that he had never worked with a player with such a ferocious will to win.
“What is Ronaldo's secret? It is what you know. He is simple, he's humble, he works and he is a good, dedicated member of the group.
“He has a strong will to win that I've not seen in anyone else and the others soak that in. Then obviously there is a lot of technical quality that you are well aware of.”
The Portugal coach also brushed aside the psychological sniping that has been emanating from the German camp.
That has included former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann claiming he knows the secret of keeping Ronaldo under lock and key, the ability of Portugal's own goalkeeper, Ricardo, being identified as a possible weak link and Scolari's men being billed as the favourites.
“These kind of statements are normal,” Scolari said. “It happens before every big game. We say they are favourites, they tell us we have a great player. It is all about trying to put the opponent under a bit of additional pressure, a push and shove game. That is normal in any tournament.”
Scolari admitted he was concerned that Germany's big players could give his side problems at set-pieces, but he claimed there were no special plans to deal with Michael Ballack's ability to make late runs into the box.
“Ballack is an excellent player and he deserves attention but not special attention – just like the others.”
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