I hope this is the first of many victories. It was more than fair. The team played well in the first half and created several chances, although they got lost a little when Denmark hit the post. We rectified some things and our attitude was really strong in the second half, always looking for the win. Fortunately, we got the goal at the end, with Cristiano making the most of a fantastic cross by Quaresma.
I thought Denmark were trying to move up and I thought it was important to bring on João Mário, because Nani was very tired. But our objective was always to win. The whole team were good – it’s not worth singling anyone out. Everyone was good, with fantastic spirit and commitment – because it’s very difficult to play here in Denmark.
Before anything else, I want to congratulate the team. We always believed we could do it. We knew it was going to be a complicated game, but we showed confidence right up until the end. I was in the right place for the goal. I missed playing with Quaresma. He’s an important player, who I’d played with before, and he crossed well. Afterwards, I did what I had to do and scored. We needed a win.
As I said before, I believe Portugal are going to finish top because our squad is the best in the group and we’re going to show that on the pitch. I’m confident that we’re going to be at the Euros.
We worked hard during the week and we knew that it was important to win this game after losing to Albania. Luckily, everyone’s attitude was ideal and in the end Cristiano resolved the game with that goal. It was an important game to gain confidence and to be able to grow.
The important thing was to get the three points. We had a good game. We knew the difficulties we were going to face, but as a team we were very good and I’m pleased with the result. If they give me the opportunity to play, it’s easier to show what I can still do for the Seleção and the club. I had the coach’s confidence and I was lucky enough to help the team. I don’t have to answer to anyone [i.e. Paulo Bento]. Everyone knows me already, they know who I am. I’m too old to respond to anyone. Could I have gone to the World Cup? That’s in the past. The important thing now is the present. I missed playing with Cristiano Ronaldo, too. He’s the best in the world and we Portuguese should be proud to have him as a teammate. The atmosphere with the new coach has been fantastic. He’s brought everyone confidence, he’s shown that anyone can play and that gives any player confidence. The spirit is fantastic. It was important to win, but nothing’s decided. We still have a lot of games ahead of us. We have to continue to work to reach our objective, not just the Seleção’s but that of all the Portuguese, too.
There are a lot of games left. It was a good win in a very complicated game and we’re very pleased. I always work hard to be selected. I was picked and I’m grateful.
It was an extremely important victory, in a very complicated game. We believed until the end. It’s a very special moment in my career. I never expected that things would go as they have. It’s all been very quick. I’m going to continue to work to have more opportunities.
Fernando Gomes (President of the FPF)
These three points don’t guarantee qualification. But it’s a good victory at a difficult moment and in complicated conditions. It’s also an historic day for the U-21s, who qualified for the Euros. They were two delicious victories.
Denmark 0-1 Portugal – Euro 2016 qualifying, 14 October 2014 – Match Report
Confidence was high in the Portugal camp for a game against Denmark that they really needed to win after falling 0-1 to Albania in the first Euro 2016 qualifying group game. But following a less than impressive debut for coach Fernando Santos on Saturday against France in a friendly (1-2), there were doubts that the misfiring bunch that looked bedraggled at times in the Stade de France could do anything in Copenhagen. Worries were eased after Portugal survived the first five minutes unscathed – something they hadn’t managed in Paris – and they steadily relaxed and began to look like a team.
The full-backs were looking much more confident, albeit with lapses, especially from Eliseu on the left. In the centre of defence, Ricardo Carvalho started and looked throughout to be in cool control of events, with Pepe the fireman when needed. William Carvalho started at no. 6 and had a steady, if uninspiring game. Tiago was also his normal quiet but effective self, keeping things safe and simple. João Moutinho was innocuous – he doesn’t seem to be enjoying his football. At least he isn’t as influential as during his time at Sporting and FC Porto; unlike Ricardo Carvalho, the move to AS Mónaco doesn’t seem to have done much for his game. Up front, Danny, Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo were going exactly what Fernando Santos ordered, rotating positions and interacting well.
For all Portugual’s improvements vis-à-vis the France game, Denmark had the majority of possession in the first half and the best chance, their best player Krohn-Dehli hitting the post with a snap shot. On the other hand, Portugal were creating the most chances, three of which fell to Cristiano Ronaldo, but they all went wide.
In the second half, Denmark again had the edge but this time Portugal had the best chance, Cristiano Ronaldo finding himself on the edge of the box after being put through by Danny, but the Real Madrid player dallied to enable the excellent Schmeichel to come out and block his shot. Fernando Santos tried to freshen things up by replacing Nani with João Mário, who had come on well against France, Éder, who had another anonymous game, and Ricardo Quaresma, who had been a sub in Paris and scored Portugal’s goal form the spot. It was Quaresma who proved vital, providing the excellent cross deep into injury time that Cristiano Ronaldo rose to head home. It had looked for all the world that the teams would share the points, but a double bit of brilliance at the death gave Portugal all three and re-launched their qualifying campaign.
Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel, Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, Boilesen (Simon Poulsen 58), Hojbjerg, Kvist, Vibe (Bech 45), Eriksen (Kahlenberg 83), Krohn-Dehli, Bendtner.
Portugal: Rui Patrício, Cédric, Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe, Eliseu, William Carvalho, João Moutinho, Tiago (Quaresma 83), Danny (Éder 77), Nani (João Mário 68), Cristiano Ronaldo
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Sevilla), Rui Patrício (Sporting)
Defenders: Antunes (Málaga), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Cédric (Sporting), Eliseu (Benfica), Fábio Coentrão [withdrawn through injury] and Pepe (Real Madrid), Ivo Pinto (Dynamo Zagreb), José Fonte (Southampton), Ricardo Carvalho (Mónaco)
Midfielder: Adrien, João Mário and William Carvalho (Sporting), André Gomes (Valência), João Moutinho (Mónaco), Tiago (Atlético Madrid)
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit), Éder (Sporting Braga), Nani (Sporting), Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), Vieirinha (Wolfsburg)
On his expectations
I’m expecting a game between two strong teams. We have great respect for Denmark – they’re a really strong team. But we believe in our capacity and we want the three points. Our philosophy is to win.
On the starting 11
I haven’t decided our starting 11 yet. I have an idea of what the team will be, but we never play alone. We have to pay attention to the opponents and know them. We know that Denmark are strong.
On TAS’ decision to suspend his eight-match ban, pending his appeal
I’m satisfied but the most important thing is the players. They’re the ones who win games on the field of play. I’m very confident, whether I’ on the bench or not. I know that they’re ready to give everything in this game, which is very important for us.
On Saturday’s 1-2 defeat to France
It’s normal for a team that’s playing for the first time, with a new coach and some new ideas, that concede a goal after three minutes in a stadium with 80,000 people … the team reacted very well, with great personality. The players didn’t tremble, they continued to believe in our strategy. The game proved that we were right. Sure, there are things we can look at again, there always are. There are some details we have to adjust, some screws to tighten. If we can do that well, this team has every chance of evolving.
We played with three more mobile forwards. For the characteristics of the Portuguese team, I think it’s more appropriate to have a way of playing that takes advantage of that mobility, rather than having a fixed player in the area. That could be important with opponents that have different characteristics. We can even play with two against more defensive teams that play near their own goal. But it’s more interesting for us to have three, with the full-backs getting involved.
On the system of qualification
Now there are two teams that go through, plus a third. This meant that teams that normally qualify thought it was a cinch. Now any team believes it can get to the European Championship. It’s a unique opportunity. It’s normal that results such as these happen [the defeat to Albania, Albania’s draw with Denmark]. Denmark are a very strong team, a candidate to go through. But if we forget Albania and Armenia, we’re in danger of running a great risk.
It’s going to be a difficult game against an opponent that’s very strong at home and that always plays in the same style. We have to think about ourselves and concentrate at the start, and then do what we showed against France. We can expect a complicated game but we have potential and worth. We aren’t going to have the atmosphere we had in France – and can I just take this opportunity to thank the emigrants for their support [in Paris]. Hearing 50% of the stadium singing the anthem with us was thrilling. In Denmark it’s going to be different. We’re going to give our best and try to win because we really need these three points.
On the last time he played in Scandinavia
The memories are good [of his famous performance in the World Cup play-off in Sweden] – it’s a memory that leaves me very emotional. I hope I can do something similar this time. We have to start well, confident, and express our football. I’m confident we can win the group. We’re going to do our best, and that’s what we’re thinking – to finish top and go to the Euros
I’ve put in good performances against Denmark, but the most important thing is for us to get the three points. We know Denmark and regardless of them having new players, the spirit is going to be the same. They’re going to fight in the same way, and they’re going to be playing at home. It’s going to be important how we start.
We only think about winning each game that we play for the Seleção. Even in friendlies, we want to win. We didn’t manage it on Saturday, but we showed experience on the pitch, even with a new tactical system which a lot of players weren’t used to. The team is prepared to respond in the best way possible. We played a good game against France. We showed a lot of quality in our defensive and offensive processes. We’re prepared.