thumbnail Hello,

The Portuguese striker has backed his under-fire team-mate to score when it matters as Paulo Bento's side prepare for their crunch clash with the Netherlands in Group B on Sunday

EXCLUSIVE
By Francisco Delgado

Portugal striker Helder Postiga says there is 'no problem' with Cristiano Ronaldo and believes the goals will come for the Real Madrid forward.

Ronaldo has come under fire after failing to score in his side's 1-0 defeat to Germany or in the last-gasp 3-2 win over Denmark in Portugal's second Group B match.

Portugal now face Netherlands in their third match and will advance to the last eight if they win that one, unless Denmark can secure an unlikely 3-2 success against Germany.

A draw could also see Portugal progress, providing Denmark do not beat Germany, while a single-goal defeat will also see Paulo Bento's men advance if Joachim Low's side down the Danes.

PORTUGAL MUST GO FOR IT!
Stephen Gillett | Portugal Expert

I hope Postiga and his side are true to his word tonight and don't set up too defensively and 'play for a point'. If they do, I fear they're going home.

For me, Portugal are a better side when they're on the front foot and their best chance of winning tonight is to impose themselves on a Netherlands team that will be up for it, but fragile, after their miserable tournament thus far. 

The Seleccao's best bet is to strike at Netherlands' obvious weakness: their defence. Heitinga, Mathijsen, Van der Wiel and Willems are not the best - and Ronaldo (with support!) pretty much is.

If Portugal attack from the off, with the intelligence mentioned by Postiga, I believe they will score the goals to knock the stuffing out of the Dutch and ensure the Seleccao navigate the toughest group at Euro 2012.
Whatever happens in Kharkiv on Sunday night, Portugal will look to Ronaldo - and Postiga hopes his team-mate can come good when it matters most.

"Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't have any problem," the Zaragoza striker told Goal.com in an exclusive interview. "People talk about his drought in front of goal, but it will come.

"We have to give him confidence and keep playing as a unit, like we are now."

A win on Sunday will almost certainly see Portugal progress to the quarter-finals in the most difficult group of all and Postiga believes they are in a healthy position ahead of their match against Netherlands.

"We [Portugal] depend on ourselves in the last match and that's the best thing you can say after unfairly losing the first game," he said. "We won't go out and play for a point, but to win and accomplish our first challenge - to get to the quarter-finals."

Having lost their opening match to Germany, the Portuguese bounced back with a 3-2 win over Denmark, although they needed a late goal from Silvestre Varela after relinquishing a two-goal lead against the Scandinavians.

"The game against Denmark represents a lot in terms of morale because we showed we can overcome adverse circumstances before and during the game," Postiga explained. "We won the match and that was what we were really looking for."

And the former Porto and Tottenham striker says small moments can make a big difference in tournaments like Euro 2012.

"Everyone had Holland as favourite for the title and now they are one step from being knocked out of the Euros," he stated. "That just shows that in one instant, everything can change."

Netherlands need to beat Portugal by two clear goals and hope Denmark lose to Germany. Postiga believes they need a miracle to advance, but says his side are not counting their chickens just yet.

"We won't take anything for granted against the Dutch. They are searching for a miracle, but we will play with intelligence, in the knowledge that we can go through.

"Getting to the quarter-finals is in our hands and we can't fail."

And the 29-year-old is well aware of Netherlands' quality in the final third.

"They have a great team," - he added - "especially in midfield and attack, but they have suffered two defeats and that would affect any group of players.
Portugal v Netherlands


"We have to exploit the possible anxiety the Dutch may be suffering and take our chances, but that doesn't mean we have to play defensively."

Always anticipated to be the most difficult sector at Euro 2012, Group B is arguably the most exciting, too, as all four teams can still qualify for the quarter-finals ahead of the final matches on Sunday. And Postiga says the clash between Portugal and Netherlands could be the competition's finest fixture so far in terms of emotion and entertainment.

"For the emotion, the intensity and what the two teams have to play for, it could be the best game of the whole competition so far," he opined.

Portugal, he says, are treating the game like a final, and he believes the key to success on Sunday lies in stopping the likes of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Rafael van der Vaart.

"For Portugal it's already like a final and we will have to get a result however we can. We have analysed the images from Netherlands' two group games and the key is that they haven't been able to take their chances. The defenders have also marked them well in attack.

"That is what we have to repeat as well."

Related

From the web