The picker Fernando Santos stated today that Portugal has "some advantage" by playing at home the final phase of the League of Nations but dismissed any kind of favoritism and recalled examples from the past.
"In 2004, we played at home and we could not win. We went to France in Euro2016 and who won was Portugal. That of favoritism is very theoretical. It is another thing to be a candidate, to assume that we want to win and to be able to do it. Since I arrived here I assumed that Portugal was a candidate to win the Euro2016. Now it seems that it is not enough just to be a candidate, "said Fernando Santos.
The national coach told reporters at a press conference in the City of Soccer in Oeiras minutes before the first training session in Portugal that began to prepare for participation in the final phase of the League of Nations.
"We have the advantage of playing at home, in front of our audience. There is one thing I always say to my players, which is we are no better than anyone, but hardly anyone is better than us. We have to prove that we have the capacity to win, "he said.
The first week of work will be done in an open regime, with players only having to attend the training, a situation Fernando Santos believes will serve to "refresh mentally" players.
"At this point, closing the players at the hotel would not be good for anyone. The players are tired, they came from an exhausting season and the messages would not go as they should. It's not about the professionalism of the players, I have unlimited confidence in them, "explained the 64-year-old.
Fernando Santos revealed that the group should only be complete on Wednesday with the arrival of captain Cristiano Ronaldo and also the players of Sporting and FC Porto, who played in the final of the Portuguese Cup, and approached the calls of João Cancelo, who was recently operated a nose fracture, and Danilo, who is punishing for the semi-finals.
"We had positive feedback from Cancelo, otherwise we would not be called. You will have to wear a mask for a while and have to adapt to it. As for Danilo, we think it fills up a lot of places and, since there is little rest between games, it can be useful, "he said.
15 years after Euro2004, Portugal again receives a great competition and Fernando Santos has assumed the desire that the environment lived at that time be repeated in Porto and Guimarães.
"I believe there may be the same support as Euro2004, but we also have to see that they are different competitions. I know we're going to have a lot of support, "he said.
Portugal, European title-holders, face Switzerland in the semi-finals of the League of Nations on June 5 at Estádio do Dragão, Porto, in a game starting at 19H45. A day later, England and the Netherlands play the other semi-final, at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, in Guimarães, also at 1945.
The winners will compete for the final of the first edition of the League of Nations on June 9 at Estádio do Dragão, in a meeting starting at 19:45, while the winners decide on the same day to award the third and fourth places at Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, at 3:00 p.m.