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Meireles: Let's do a Chelsea

ESPN staff
June 27, 2012 « Almeida to start for Portugal against Spain | Chartbeat test »
Spain are planning to stop Cristiano Ronaldo

Raul Meireles has called on his Portugal team-mates to follow the lead of Chelsea when they take on Spain in Wednesday's Euro 2012 semi-final.

Portugal have been written off by many ahead of their clash with the world and European Champions, but it was a similar story for Chelsea in last season's Champions League. The Blues pulled off a huge shock by toppling Barcelona before beating Bayern Munich in their own back yard in the final.

Chelsea star Meireles is aware that few fancy Portugal to deliver but wants to use that as a spur to semi-final success.

"Last season I won two titles with Chelsea and one of them, the Champions League, nobody gave us any hope - particularly when we faced Barcelona," he told the Sun. "But we proved them wrong as we did against Bayern Munich in the final at their own stadium.

"Portugal could learn a lot from that, that you never go out on the pitch and stare defeat in the face no matter how much you are written off.

"It's time for Portugal to stand up and prove we can deliver. We must seize the opportunity and make our nation proud.

"Everyone expects Spain to win, after all they are the reigning European and world champions. But that takes the pressure off us and allows us to play without the burden of enormous expectations. Even so, we are improving and we have shown we are not afraid of anyone. We haven't come this far to lose, we will put up a tremendous fight to reach the final."

Meireles has insisted there is no chance of Portugal sitting back and trying to stifle Spain.

"There is no point us going out to try and stop Spain from playing," he said. "It is completely alien tactics to us and will cost us the game.

"Yes, we will have to close them down a lot quicker and prevent them from having too much possession of the ball. But we are a very dangerous side on the counter-attack especially with the pace of Nani and Ronaldo. Spain will know they have been in a game.

"For the neutral, it will be very exciting. For the supporters of Portugal and Spain it might be a bit more nervous."

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