Portugal plan to attack Spain from the outset in their FIFA World Cup™ round of 16 clash on Tuesday, with coach Carlos Queiroz saying they will think and play quicker than their Iberian rivals.
At stake for both teams is a quarter-final berth against either Paraguay or Japan at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, a tempting fixture as both Spain and Portugal look to win the FIFA World Cup for the first time in their history. The Portuguese crushed Korea DPR 7-0 the last time they played in Cape Town and while that is not going to happen against the Europeans champions, they will be searching for goals.
"We want to win this game from the very first minute," said Queiroz, indicating that his tactics would be different to those employed against Brazil when they had a more defensive game plan. "We don't know if the game will be 90 minutes or 120 minutes or penalties. All that counts is that we move forward and score.
"My idea in a game of this nature is that we must take some risks. Our passing must be decisive if we want to win. We must also defend well and attack well. But if my squad wants to stay in the World Cup they must always be on the attack."
Portugal have kept a clean sheet in 22 of their last 26 internationals and they will be hoping to make it 23 despite the potent threat from Fernando Torres and the in-form David Villa, who has already scored three goals. Queiroz's side have injury worries with striker Danny and midfielder Duda struggling to be fit, but playmaker Deco should return after sitting out the 0-0 draw with Brazil.
If my squad wants to stay in the World Cup they must always be on the attack.
Portugal also have seven players on yellow cards, but Queiroz said it would not stop them taking the game to Spain. "We have seven players on yellow cards but I am not worried. They will have to play openly for 90 minutes and give their all for us to progress," he said. "Our attitude will not take the cards into account. Our attitiude will be one of pragmatic realism. We must be aware of our rivals' virtues and we must be one second ahead of them. We must think quicker and play quicker."
Throughout the tournament Queiroz has stressed that his team should play "beautiful" football, and he expects nothing less on Tuesday, forecasting "a great, great game".
"It's going to be extremely difficult for both teams. Our style of football though is somewhat similar and I believe it will be a quick game with a lot of creativity, a lot of great moves," he said. "At this stage I expect a great, great show of football."
The Cape Town clash will be the two teams' first meeting at a FIFA World Cup, but the pair share a lengthy footballing history featuring no fewer than 32 previous matches. Spain have the edge with 15 wins to just five victories for Portugal.