Joao Pereira: Portugal proved doubters wrong

The full-back believes that Paulo Bento's men have shown their detractors that they can challenge at the Euros after rallying from a goal down to beat the Netherlands
Portugal defender Joao Pereira has expressed his delight with the Seleccao's qualification for the knockout stages of Euro 2012.

Stephen Gillett | Portugal Expert

Qualifying from the Group of Death was always a tall order but Paulo Bento's men did it in some style last night. Prior to the 2-1 win over the Oranje, the Portuguese media, and even a section of fans, had been rounding on Paulo Bento and his side, particularly Cristiano Ronaldo.

At present, the Portugal of 2012 will always come up short when measured against the 'Golden Generation' of Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Joao Pinto, Vitor Baia et al - and they always will until they win something.

If the Portuguese lose against the Czechs, the media will pounce on them again, but for now Pereira and his team-mates should bask in the glow of a job well done. If they want to permanently silence their critics? Go and win it!
After losing their opening game to Germany, Portugal beat Denmark and Netherlands to finish second in Group B, and the right-back was pleased to have silenced the team's critics.

"We've made it through to the quarter-finals – that was our main goal in a very difficult group, and many doubted us. We showed we're a united team, despite what the press has been saying," Pereira stated to

"All of us fight for the same side and that shows on the pitch, where we were able to better ourselves, and despite going behind, we showed we're united and we turned it around."

The Seleccao will now face surprise Group A winners Czech Republic, who lost their opening game 4-1 to Russia, in the quarter-finals, and Pereira wants to rejuvenate first before thinking about the clash.

"We'll have time to think about the Czech Republic," he said. "They're obviously a good team because they also made it through to the quarter-finals. But right now we'll rest and make good use of our day off tomorrow to restore our energy. We need it badly."

Portugal's quarter-final versus the Czechs takes place on Thursday, June 21 in Warsaw.