Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has declared his side faces the toughest group at the forthcoming World Cup finals in South Africa, but he is confident they have what it takes to progress beyond the first round of the competition and possibly into the latter stages.
The Real Madrid star has identified Portugal's opener against Ivory Coast on June 15 as a massive game and one where a win can put them in a strong position with the rest of the tournament in mind.
"I believe that the group that fell to Portugal is the most difficult. The first match with Ivory Coast, will be crucial. We have to win it because it's important to start with a win, but I have no doubt that we have chances to progress. It will not be easy, I repeat, but we can overcome the group stage," he told AS.
Ronaldo also said that Spain have to be considered favourites but added that he has no fears about playing the European champions in the knockout stages of the competition.
"We must respect Spain, it's enough to say that they are one of my favourites. In addition to Spain, I think Brazil, England, Argentina and Germany are the leading candidates.
"Playing Spain would mean we passed through the group stage, therefore, of course I would [like to play them]. It would be a one off game and then anything can happen. But the first obstacle is the Ivory Coast. If we win that game, we would have a 50 per cent chance of getting into the next phase."
Ronaldo added that his intention is to give his best in the tournament and noted that his side have an outside chance of going all the way in South Africa.
"We've never won it and that's why we are not favourites, but favourites do not always win. I will be in South Africa with that mentality. Of course I want to be at my best and have a great competition," he remarked.
"I will try to give the best of me, as I always do, both in Madrid and in the national team. I'm in a great form but I don't do miracles. The important thing is not me, if the team is fine, we can go far and that is the mentality we will have at the World Cup."
Become a fan of Goal.com India's Facebook fan page for all the latest news and insight into everything related to the beautiful game!