Fernando Santos is confident Portugal will qualify for the World Cup as they chase down Group B leaders Switzerland with three games remaining.
Switzerland are still three points clear of the European champions despite a 5-1 victory for Santos’ side against the Faroe Islands on Thursday, inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick.
And while Santos identified flaws in his team’s performance in Porto, he was happy to win the first of four “finals” at the close of the campaign.
“We had four finals and now there are three left,” the coach said. “It was important to win this game to be present in the World Cup and I believe we will be.
“We did not do everything right. First, we played with high pressure and then, after 15 minutes, a lot of anxiety, with many mistakes. We lost a little concentration and there were two moments of danger from the opponent.
— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) August 31, 2017
“I tried to rectify it at the interval. In the second half, we dominated the game again and our players ended up winning us the game.”
Nelson Oliveira – scorer of the fifth goal – added: “Against this type of opponent, it is important to score early and we did that.”
And midfielder Joao Mario believes that Portugal’s focus must be on their upcoming clash against Hungary, rather than a potentially decisive meeting with Switzerland in their final group fixture.
“Above all, we have to think about the next game against Hungary,” he said. “It is away from home and it will be complicated. It’s no good thinking about Switzerland right now.”
The nine pool winners will automatically advance to the finals while the best eight runners-up will go into the play-offs for the four remaining spots.
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