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The Portugal centre-back warns his team-mates that they would be wise not to underestimate their opponents in Friday's World Cup 2014 qualifying match in Ramat Gan

Portugal defender Pepe is taking nothing for granted as his team prepares for Friday's World Cup qualifier against Israel in Ramat Gan.

Paulo Bento's side currently trail the Middle Eastern nation in Group F and, while the Real Madrid defender stressed that there is still a long way to go, he has warned his side not to underestimate their opponents.

"It is not the decider because we have other crucial games and Russia have yet to play in Portugal. But is it really an important game," he told reporters.

"We want to be at the World Cup and, within the group, we believe we can do it and do not want to contemplate another possibility.

"It's an important game, we have to be very focused. It will be difficult but we will try to win. I have never played in Israel but I know some players from their team, especially playing in Spain, are very good.

"We have to
impose our style and experience and take this game seriously."

The Brazil-born star played at the World Cup in 2010 and he admits that it would mean a great deal to him personally to feature in his homeland in two years' time.

"The real special meaning for me would be to reach my second World Cup with Portugal. It is important that it is in Brazil."

The centre-back also voiced his hope that Joao Moutinho would recover from a knock to feature against the Israelis, declaring: "He is part of the group, is a great player and I hope he's okay."

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