Meireles urges Portugal to emulate Chelsea

The midfielder is hoping that his country can draw inspiration from the Blues' Champions League success against the odds and topple rivals Spain in their Euro 2012 semi-final
Raul Meireles has admitted that his Portugal team-mates can learn a lot from Chelsea's Champions League winning side this season ahead of their Euro 2012 semi-final against world and European champions Spain.

With Spain regarded as favourites to progress to the final, Meireles is hoping his country can replicate the performances that earned Chelsea surprise victories over Barcelona and Bayern Munich and topple Vicente Del Bosque’s team.

Despite the lack of support for Paulo Bento's side's chances, Meireles has urged the Seleccao to seize the opportunity on Wednesday.

"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."
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The midfielder did admit, however, that Portugal would not adopt Chelsea's defensive tactics in an attempt to stave off Spain's attacking threat.

"There is no point us going out to try and stop Spain from playing," Meireles insisted. "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 [Cristiano] 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."