Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz is confident Cristiano Ronaldo is ready to show what he is made of on the world stage.
The 25-year-old Real Madrid star will lead his country into their opening Group G battle with Cote d'Ivoire in Port Elizabeth this afternoon with the weight of expectation on his shoulders. Queiroz is confident he can carry that burden, but equally certain he will not have to do so alone.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the captain of the team and a big icon nationally and internationally, and he is ready.
He said: "He is good, he is looking forward to it - and I feel not only him, but all the players are wanting to play their best football yet. I am sure our 23 players, after the preparation we have undertaken, are all more than ready to begin playing. Cristiano Ronaldo is the captain of the team and a big icon nationally and internationally, and he is ready. They are all ready.
"It's time to play. The preparation time has come to an end and they now all really want to start playing, playing well and showing what they are capable of. We have 23 players who are desperate to do well for Portugal and I am sure all the players and not only Cristiano Ronaldo will be motivated by national pride."
Midfielder Deco admits he and his team-mates are itching to get started.
He said: "The team has huge expectations and the first game is usually the most difficult because the anxiety levels are high. But we are ready. I am sure we have prepared ourselves very well and now we have to play and play well."
However, the 32-year-old Chelsea player knows Cote d'Ivoire boss Sven-Goran Eriksson will have his side well organised as they too attempt to make a positive start to their campaign. He said: "Eriksson has good experience and he is a fantastic coach. All teams need a good coach and Cote d'Ivoire at the moment has a good coach. Of course we have discussed how they play and we know what they can do, and will be well prepared for the game."
Brazilian-born Deco announced earlier this year that he would retire from international football after the FIFA World Cup™, and he is showing few signs of reconsidering that decision.
He said: "I have explained why I took that decision and I am not even thinking about that at the moment. I don't even want to talk about it. I have already said that once the World Cup is finished, I will not continue. But at the moment, that doesn't even cross my mind. What I am thinking about is playing tomorrow."