Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari admitted he is with the EURO 2004 draw, which pits the hosts against Spain, Greece and Russia.
“You cannot choose your opponents and we cannot say that any here are worse than the others,’ said Scolari. ‘We have to accept the teams included in our group.’
We are in the middle of 16 great teams and our aim is to get as far as we can and ultimately win the championship. That is what we are here for.”
Inevitably, the focus of attention fell upon Portugal’s encounter with Spain, although Scolari refused to see that match as the key to the group.
‘I have to treat Spain like the other teams. I have to think of Greece and Russia first because we play them first. I like the order of the matches being like this.”
“We are going to start in the wonderful Dragao stadium in which we played a great game against Brazil when we beat them. So we have a path and let’s keep our feet on the ground and hopefully we will get there.”
Meanwhile, the Greeks were happy to be involved in tournament’s opening fixture.
“We are here as outsiders and we are not uncomfortable with that,” he said. ”
We know outsiders have a chance and we think we might benefit from that position. We want to take that opportunity. We are very proud to play the hosts in the first match and I just know that this group will produce a very good football spectacle for everyone.”
Russia coach Georgi Yartsev was equally upbeat about the draw and aware that his side would not be among the favourites.
“I am very proud to be here in the draw which means the finals of the European Championship. We are with three great teams all coached by three great coaches. I think Russia have a fair chance to qualify. We will try our best.”
Spanish coach Inaki Saez was pleased with the draw, believing all four teams had a chance of progressing to the last 8.
“I think of all four groups this is one of the most balanced ones,” he said.
“We have to fight a lot and it will be a hell of a fight to get into those top two qualification places. I think all the four teams have very good possibilities to go through.”