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Portugal ´more prepared´ after Georgia loss, claims Martinez

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Jun 2024

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Roberto Martinez is confident Portugal’s defeat to Georgia on Wednesday was good preparation for the knockout stage at Euro 2024.

Portugal had already made sure of top spot in Group F, although the result against Georgia would impact the identity of their opponents in the last 16.

With Georgia 2-0 winners and advancing to the next round, Hungary were eliminated, leaving the Selecao to face Slovenia, who handed Martinez his first defeat in the job in a friendly in March.

This was now his first competitive loss, but the former Belgium coach believes Portugal are in a better place as a result.

“We made a lot of changes. The focus was on preparing all the players,” Martinez said. “Now we are more prepared.

“We had players on the bench today that we did not want to use, because we were first in the group and the goal was achieved.

“It’s a difficult way to prepare for the next game, because we don’t like to lose. It’s the first official game we’ve lost. But we’re ready now.”

Martinez acknowledged the difficulty of facing a team in Georgia who so desperately needed to win, facing elimination without victory.

“It was a day when we didn’t have the same intensity as the opponent,” he said. “For Georgia, this was a final; for us, it was one step before the round of 16. That was part of the final result.”

Even in defeat, winger Pedro Neto was confident Portugal showed they are a match for any team in the tournament, suggesting only the host nation have rivalled the Selecao so far.

“We go to every game to win,” he said. “We are confident because to this day I don’t remember a team, other than Germany, that played as well as us. We are ready for the next game.”

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