Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo said his side could spring a surprise at UEFA EURO 2012 and "have the advantage of not being favourite" as they prepare to tackle Germany on Saturday.
"I am not nervous. we feel fine - though maybe the tension will rise by tomorrow, being the day of the match. yet now I am not nervous - the team is in good shape and well prepared," he insisted.
Earlier, coach Paulo Bento had refused to answer questions about the effect of media criticism following some poor warm-up form - including last week's loss at home to Turkey. Ronaldo, who first sprang to international prominence at the EURO 2004 run to the final, where Greece beat Portugal, dismissed the broadsides.
"I am very saddened by the criticism - but no, we are well prepared," said Ronaldo, who was on the losing side twice against the Germans in major finals - the third-place play-off in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ and the EURO 2008 quarter-finals.
I hope Portugal can spring a surprise and get off to a strong start.
"We are in a very tough group" which also includes the Netherlands and Denmark. "We are with very technically gifted teams. But we must play without pressure and take pleasure in it. Portugal's advantage is that we are not one of the favourites, hence there is less pressure."
He insisted that "our goal is to win the match, but a draw would not be a bad result."
The 27-year-old Real Madrid star, who will go up against club-mate Mesut Oezil, said that "Germany's unity makes them strong. They all know just what they have to do and when which is why they have had more success at the EUROs than other teams," he went on. "They have progressed these past few years and are strong up front and at the back.
"I don't see many weak points in the Germany team - they are one of the best and a big favourite alongside the Dutch, Spain and Italy. They can all win the tournament. I hope Portugal can spring a surprise and get off to a strong start."