Euro 2012

Nani looking to rise and shine

2012-05-23 08:22
Nani (File)

Lisbon - Coming off the frustration of a trophyless season, Portugal star Nani will be looking to make amends at Euro 2012, where his silky skills will be sorely needed to get his compatriots out of a tough group.

Drawn with three previous winners in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark, the 2004 runners-up will have to click from the outset if they are to reach the knockout phase but in Nani they have a man who certainly knows how to unlock the door.

Coach Paulo Bento will be hoping for the real Nani to stand up after a mixed season at Old Trafford, which started with a brace in the Community Shield at Wembley against rivals Manchester City.

Had he turned in that kind of showing in either league game against the blue half of the city to prevent either one of two painful defeats then the Premier League title may have stayed on the other side of Manchester.

But having been sidelined for the last Soccer World Cup with a shoulder injury, he is looking to prove himself in Portuguese scarlet rather than Mancunian red.

If he can pin down his best form, he could prove to be a key figure for Bento's men as one of just two English-based players, the other being Chelsea's Raul Meireles.

"We will be out to beat the best teams at the event - we have been drawn in a tough but not impossible group," Nani told A Bola magazine after the draw. "We have to believe in ourselves and work hard. I think we can win it."

That is a defiant stance from the gifted Cape Verde-born star, who has blown frustratingly hot and cold in his five years at Old Trafford.

Nevertheless he has clocked up more than a century of appearances for United while surpassing the half century for his country.

Nani has pinpointed the need to make a flying start against Germany, their 2008 quarter-final conquerors, on June 9 in Lviv -- a big ask against the perennial favourites.

"I really hope we can win that first match as that would give us a big injection of confidence for the remainder of the tournament," indicated the 25-year-old.

With Denmark next up he will reflect on how he netted twice against the Scandinavians in qualifying - he scored five in 10 games across the campaign - only for the Seleccao to lose the return, sending them into the playoffs against Bosnia, where he scored once in a 6-2 victory.

Read more on:    nani  |  soccer

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