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Portugal´s perfect record will count for nothing at Euro 2024, warns Martinez

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 Dec 2023

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Portugal coach Roberto Martinez has warned his team’s perfect Euro 2024 qualification record will count for nothing at next year’s tournament, though he is content with their group-stage draw.

Portugal were drawn into Group F at Saturday’s draw in Hamburg, alongside Turkiye, the Czech Republic and a yet-to-be-decided play-off winner.

Georgia, Luxembourg, Greece and Kazakhstan will battle for the final place in Portugal’s group in March’s play-offs.

Portugal have won all 10 of their games since Roberto Martinez replaced Fernando Santos in the aftermath of last year’s disappointing World Cup exit, scoring 36 goals and only conceding two as they dominated their qualification group.

Having led Belgium to the last three major tournaments, Martinez is experienced enough to know that will count for little when Portugal begin their campaign against the Czech Republic on June 18.

Asked whether he was satisfied with the draw, Martinez said: “Yes, because the format of the European Championship is unpredictable, there can be three teams that qualify.

“They are difficult opponents. The Czech Republic is a bit of an unknown because they don’t have a coach.

“Turkey won their qualifying group against Croatia and Wales. It is a team with a mix of talent, youth and experience.

“We want to have a perfect preparation. We qualified very well, but that doesn’t give us an advantage in the tournament. We need to be prepared.”

Martinez’s main focus was on the logistical implications of Portugal’s draw, and he was relieved to discover that their final two group games will be played in the neighbouring cities of Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen.

“For us, it is good news to be in Group F,” he said. “We are based in the centre of Germany and we will have extra time to prepare for the first game. This is important for us.”

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