Portugal all but out

2014-06-23 09:34
Paulo Bento (Supplied)
Paulo Bento (Supplied)
Cape Town - Portugal head coach Paulo Bento has conceded that his team's chances of qualifying for the knockout phase of the World Cup are virtually non-existent.

The point gained from their 2-2 draw with the USA on Sunday is all that Portugal have to their name after the opening two rounds of group play, leaving them some way off the pace.

Germany and the USA, with four points each, are in pole position to qualify from Group G while Ghana and Portugal with one point are still mathematically in the race. However, Portugal's goal difference of negative four puts them firmly on the back foot.

Despite this, Bento asserts that his team will do whatever they can to gain a victory in their final group match against Ghana, and says that he does not expect the Germans and Americans to look to play out a draw even though this would see both teams progress to the next round.

"This is a delicate moment for all our players. They are all a bit sad now and this is not the moment to criticise individuals," Bento said.

"Criticise me as a coach if you will, we had a chance to get a result here today, we didn't but we have to move on and try to beat Ghana.

"In my entire career as a player and coach, I have never been suspicious about my colleagues playing for a draw," he added.

"Our obligation is to beat Ghana and although our chances are slim even if we do, we will maintain our professional standards until the very last minute."

Bento refused to criticise a listless Christiano Ronaldo or any of his team-mates, refuting suggestions that they had wilted in humid conditions.

"We were fine physically, it was more the mental aspect that determined the course of the game," he said.

"We were a goal up and then fell behind. In the end we got an equaliser that leaves us in with a mathematical chance to progress.

"We dominated the first 45 minutes and should have scored more goals but the situation changed in the second half. We never lost control of the match although we didn't dominate the whole game and failed to contain their right wing.

"The second US goal came through our mistakes and in the end I guess a draw was a fair result although it left us in a very difficult situation."
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