Former Manchester United star Nani wary of a World Cup backlash for Euro champs Portugal

By 05 September 2016 04:57

Valencia’s summer signing Nani admits Portugal's Euro 2016 success could make their World Cup qualifying campaign more difficult and has urged his teammates to continue aiming high.

Fernando Santos' team take on Switzerland tomorrow for their first competitive game since lifting the European Championship trophy in Paris two months ago.

The former Manchester United and Fenerbahce winger, who scored twice in last week's friendly win over Gibraltar, feels rival nations will be more keen than ever to claim Portugal's scalp, starting with the Group B opener in Basel on Tuesday evening.

"We have to get off to a good start and try to impose our qualities from the outset so that we don't have to worry at the end," he told Fifa.com.

"We know Switzerland are a very strong team and they're playing at home so it won't be easy. On top of that, now that we're European champions, other teams are going to be even more determined to beat us. But our objective is to try to win every game we play."

Captain Cristiano Ronaldo will again be absent for the Portuguese as he continues his recovery from the knee injury which forced him off in the Euro 2016 final.

Nani, who took over the armband from Ronaldo in that game and who will be making his 105th international appearance tomorrow, has gained a taste for success and now wants to help his country become world champions.

"Winning this World Cup is one of our objectives," he added. "When you start winning you can't change your attitude.

"Football is a game of dreams and we have to keep dreaming in order to achieve great things like the European title. We'll have to see what happens in World Cup qualifying but we're going to try to take Portugal as high as we can in the football world."

France also return to competitive action on Tuesday evening following their Euro 2016 heartbreak on home soil.

Didier Deschamps guided Les Bleus to a 3-1 friendly victory over Italy on Thursday evening and will be hoping for a similar result from their Group A game in Belarus.

"This is a qualifying match which will require determination and maximum concentration as for any game," Deschamps told L'Equipe. "Belarus can create problems and we must be prepared to defend and defend well."

 

Source: PA-WIRE


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