PORTUGAL defender Fernando Meira insists his team’s so-far promising Euro 2008 campaign will not be knocked off track by the announcement that coach Luiz Felipe Scolari will join Chelsea after the tournament.
Portugal face hosts Switzerland tomorrow night (7.45pm) after Group A victories over Turkey and Czech Republic, the latter of which was followed by confirmation of his switch to Stamford Bridge on July 1.
Meira, who has come on as a substitute in each of Portugal’s first two pool games, does not believe the Brazilian’s decision to leave the post he has occupied since 2003 will hinder the team’s bid to go one better than they did at Euro 2004 and become European champions.
“Our squad is upset because we have lost a great trainer,” said the 30-year-old Stuttgart player.
“In the last years Scolari has shown that he is a great coach. We will miss him. But I know we can still count on him and we want to make something beautiful here at the European Championships.”
Meira is not yet worried about who will succeed the Brazilian 2002 World Cup-winning boss, with Manchester United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz linked to the post, preferring to focus only on the task in hand.”
For us it is very important that’s all the team are able to think only the football part, only about the European Championships.”
Scolari may rest some of his players, with qualification assured.
Meanwhile, Swiss defender Patrick Mueller urged his side to forget about its elimination from the European Championship and fight for honour tomorrow in a game that marks the end of coach Kobi Kuhn’.s reign.
The 31-year-old said the co-host’s decisive loss to Turkey marked the “worst day of his life”. Mueller was partly responsible for the injury-time goal on Wednesday that ended Swiss hopes of advancing to the quarter-finals.
“I wish I brought more to the pitch, took on more responsibility, closed down space quicker, directed the defence better,” Mueller said. “We waited so long for this and the disappointment is massive.”
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