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Portugal's Raul Meireles waves as he walks to a news conference after a training session of Portugal at the Euro 2012 soccer championship in Opalenica, Poland, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Raul Meireles believes his national side will have to attack against Spain in the Euro 2012 semi final
Chelsea star Raul Meireles has insisted that Portugal will play their natural game against Spain in the Euro 2012 semi final tonight.
France tried a similar defensive strategy to Chelsea in the Champions League against Barcelona when they faced the defending champions in the quarter finals and were outclassed, losing 2-0.
“There is no point us going out to try and stop Spain from playing,” he said. “It is completely alien tactics to us and will cost us the game.
“Yes, we will have to close them down a lot quicker and prevent them from having too much possession of the ball. But we are a very dangerous side on the counter-attack especially with the pace of Nani and Ronaldo. Spain will know they have been in a game.
“For the neutral, it will be very exciting. For the supporters of Portugal and Spain it might be a bit more nervous.”
Meireles concedes that Spain are favourites and Portugal are in a position Chelsea found themselves in against Barcelona.
“Last season I won two titles with Chelsea and one of them, the Champions League, nobody gave us any hope - particularly when we faced Barcelona,” he told the Sun. “But we proved them wrong as we did against Bayern Munich in the final at their own stadium.
“Portugal could learn a lot from that, that you never go out on the pitch and stare defeat in the face no matter how much you are written off.
“It’s time for Portugal to stand up and prove we can deliver. We must seize the opportunity and make our nation proud.
“Everyone expects Spain to win, after all they are the reigning European and world champions. But that takes the pressure off us and allows us to play without the burden of enormous expectations.
“Even so, we are improving and we have shown we are not afraid of anyone. We haven’t come this far to lose, we will put up a tremendous fight to reach the final.”