Fernando Santos has given his reaction to the Euro 2016 group stages draw, which was made recently and it pits his Portugal national team against the likes of Iceland, Hungary, and Austria.
There is a feeling that Portugal have had the luck of the draw as this appears to be an easy group to qualify from. After the recent struggles at major tournaments, Portugal are in desperate need of some success. This is also the case for star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who has often failed to perform in the big games for the national team.
Ronaldo came under heavy criticism following poor performances for the national team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The national team returned back home after failing to qualify from the group stages. This led to the appointment of Santos recently and performances have improved tremendously under the regime of the former Greece manager. Santos claims that there is no easy group at a major tournament like the Euro 2016. He expects Portugal’s superstars to work extremely hard towards qualification. Portugal have had mixed results in recent friendlies. After the loss against Russia, they managed a narrow 2-0 win over minnows Luxembourg.
Santos will be aware that the team has little time to prepare for the opening game against Iceland in France.“I said before the draw that the most important thing was to get to know who we would face so we could start to study and analyse our opponents. I don’t believe in easy groups or difficult groups. What I believe in is work – it’s by working that we get results. We have to respect all our opponents and find solutions to beat them,” said Santos. Portugal’s best performance in the European Championship game in 2004 when they finished as the runners up to Greece.