Ronaldo: We're in the group of death

Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo played down hopes of his side lifting the UEFA EURO 2012 title on 1 July on Tuesday, saying he just hoped they could reach the knockout stages.

The 27-year-old, fresh from lifting the La Liga title with Real Madrid, couldn't really see too many surprises on the horizon at the EUROs. Portugal have a tough battle ahead, with their group also including three former champions in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

"I don't think that in this EURO there will be a lot of surprises," said Ronaldo. "Spain are really strong and behind them there are difficult sides to play. We realise we are in a difficult group, the group of death, and our priority first of all is to get through the first phase.

"We have fallen among Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, who beat us in the qualifying group (leaving Portugal to come through the play-offs), but I have a reasonable hope that we will qualify from the group. We are not favourites, and so much the better for that."

They start their campaign proper in Group B against EURO 2008 finalists Germany on 9 June in Lviv, Ukraine, followed by 1992 champions Denmark on 13 June, and round it off against 1988 champions Holland on 17 June in Kharkiv.