Winger Simao believes Portugal could beat five-time FIFA World Cup™ champions Brazil if they had to in order to qualify from the "group of death" and admitted he wanted to avoid Spain in the next phase.

The Portuguese, semi-finalists at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, believe they are battling for qualification in Group G with Brazil and Côte d'Ivoire, with Korea DPR the dark horses. Simao said they were anxious to get their tournament under way.

"Portugal have some of the best players in Europe with a lot of ambition and it's a very united and strong team," said the Atletico Madrid player.

"It's always important to start the World Cup in the best way with a win. We don't want to face Brazil in the third game needing a win but if we need to win, why not? We have beaten them several times before."

Simao said Portugal, who face the Ivorians in their first match on Tuesday, wanted to avoid Spain in the last 16, which would happen if Spain topped Group H and Portugal finished as runners-up.

Portugal have some of the best players in Europe with a lot of ambition and it's a very united and strong team.

Simao, Portugal winger

"It will be difficult if Portugal face Spain because they are the European champions," added the 30-year-old who sought to quash rumours that he did not get on with Cristiano Ronaldo, saying he was good friends with the Read Madrid player. "It's a lie and I don't understand it. You can ask Ronaldo and he will confirm that."

Portugal needed a play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina to reach South Africa after a qualifying campaign in which midfielder-cum-striker Ronaldo failed to score in seven matches before being sidelined by injury.

Where to play the "golden boy" will occupy coach Carlos Queiroz's thoughts with the options including using him in a wide or central midfield role or as a lone striker.

Simao admitted the loss of Nani through injury was a big blow but said: "Of course he is a good player but unfortunately he is injured. We are sad but we have a lot of good players that can also play in our position.

"I'm very happy to be part of this 23. We are preparing for the World Cup in a good way and instead of thinking about our opponents we are thinking about ourselves. We hare working hard. I am fit, all the players are fit. I feel 100 percent."