we will prove spain wrong

PORTUGAL want to prove that Spain players were wrong when they expressed their happiness about avoiding Brazil in the round of 16 at the World Cup.

PORTUGAL want to prove that Spain players were wrong when they expressed their happiness about avoiding Brazil in the round of 16 at the World Cup.

Spain beat Chile 2-1 on Friday to top Group H and set up a match against their Iberian neighbours instead of having to play the five-time world champions.

"We want to go out there and cause Spain at least as many difficulties as the Brazilians would have done," Portugal winger Simao Sabrosa said yesterday.

"Maybe even more."

Portugal and Spain play each other in Cape Town tomorrow with the winner taking on Paraguay or Japan in the quarterfinals.

Brazil are now in the other half of the draw and the sides could only meet in the final on July 11.

Portugal finished second in Group G after a 0-0 draw with Brazil on Friday. Later that day, Spain won their group and did not hold back from showing their happiness about the outcome.

Spain defender Gerard Pique called it "fundamental to avoid teams like Brazil", and many of his teammates agreed.

Sabrosa said he understood the cheer among Spanish players but warned them two days before the match. "It's normal that you're happy when you're not having to play Brazil. But let's not forget that we are also a very strong team."

It's hard arguing with that. Portugal are on an unbeaten streak of 19 matches and have not conceded a goal in their three World Cup games so far, including a 0-0 draw with Ivory Coast and a 7-0 demolition of North Korea.

Sabrosa, who scored the second goal against the Asians, said it was about time Portugal earned more respect for their achievements.

"Everybody is talking about Spain all the time," he said. "Sure, we have a lot of respect for them as well and they are the European champions. But that does not rule out what we've done over the last couple of years."

Portugal finished fourth at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and reached the semifinals of the 2000 European Championship and the final of the same competition four years later. - Sapa-AP

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