PORTUGAL coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is adamant his team will not change their tactics to counter the Czech Republic’s expected physical approach in today’s Group A clash in Geneva (kick-off 5pm).
The winner of the match at the Stade de Geneve will secure their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008, with both teams having claimed three points from their opening games in the group.
It promises to be a contrast in styles, with the flair and brio of the Portuguese coming up against the aggressive and direct approach of the Czechs.
Scolari respects the ability of Karel Bruckner’s side, but insists his team will play as they always do as they look to become the first country to qualify for the knockout stages.
“We have our own style, we won’t change,” he said. “We know they have specific strong points, but we have to have faith in our own technical qualities. And sometimes the best form of defence is attack.”
Scolari revealed his starting XI will be the same team that eased to a 2-0 win over Turkey in their opening pool match last Saturday.
Giant striker Jan Koller should again be the Czech Republic’s chief offensive weapon, but Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho is confident he and centre-back partner Pepe can nullify the targetman’s threat.
“It will be very difficult for both of us,” the Chelsea player predicted.
“If he is very strong and tall, but we have other characteristics, like pace. We think we can cope with Koller.”
Czech coach Bruckner wants his side to show more creative guile against the Portuguese than they mustered in their narrow win over Switzerland.
Substitute Vaclav Sverkos secured the first three points of the tournament for the Czechs with a goal 19 minutes from time in the curtain-raiser against the co-hosts in Basle on Saturday.
“We have done a thorough analysis of the game,” said Bruckner. “We think we were not creative enough, especially in attack.
“The last 10 minutes were rather problematic as well. We should have kept the ball under control for longer.
“In defence we were quite satisfied and the result was quite satisfactory as well.”
Bruckner knows Portugal pose a major threat.
“The Portuguese are excellent, no doubt about that. However, we will try to play our game. We are not as strong in attack as Portugal but that does not mean we are a weaker team.
“I think Portugal are the favourites but there is no clear winner.”
FC Copenhagen right-back Zdenek Pospech missed the opening game due to ‘flu but has returned to training, meaning Bruckner has his full squad available.
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