Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo believes
his side's bold performance on a difficult pitch in Zenica last week will
inspire them to overpower Bosnia at home on Tuesday and qualify for Euro 2012.
Friday's scoreless draw left the two-legged play-off wide open but the
Portuguese are confident they will make the most of home advantage after the
Bilino Polje Stadium's swampy pitch stopped them converting their control of the
match into a win.
"That wasn't grass, we played on a vegetable patch. It was very difficult
and still we did well and created chances," Ronaldo said.
The world's most expensive player, who last week picked up his second Golden
Boot award as Europe's top scorer, was the most dangerous player of the game but
his finishing was hampered by the poor state of the pitch.
"We now have a second chance at home in front of our fans, with a good pitch
and have all the conditions to ensure we win," he added. "We have to assume we
are favourites and show our superiority - we are a better team."
Portugal, runners-up at Euro 2004, are on the verge of achieving their
seventh consecutive qualification for a major international tournament.
Their hard-working opponents were 12 minutes away from securing a berth in
next year's finals when they led France 1-0 in their final group match, but were
sent to the playoffs after the hosts' late equaliser.
A scoring draw or a win at the Luz Stadium on Tuesday would send the
Bosnians to their first major tournament as an independent nation.
The Portuguese had a dismal start to their Euro 2012 campaign but coach
Paulo Bento revived the team's hopes, earning five straight wins after he took
over in September last year.
Still, needing only a draw to finish top of qualifying Group H and avoid the
play-offs, they lost 2-1 to Denmark in their last qualifier to end up second.
"All teams go through different cycles and tough moments but we had a good
qualifying [campaign], we simply did not grab that one point in Denmark... now,
I believe we will win," Ronaldo said.
Bosnia, meanwhile, were hoping a better pitch would also work in their
"Maybe the Portuguese think we will be easier opponents on a better surface
but we won't. The fact is that we are also looking forward to play on a quality
pitch," Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko said.
His partner in attack, Vedad Ibisevic, a second half substitute in Zenica,
added: "We are confident that the tie will go down to the wire, especially if we
play like we did against France in Paris."
Midfielder Miralem Pjanic and Dzeko, who had a quiet first leg, are expected
to shake off minor knocks and play.
Knowing a positive result would take them to the finals, coach Safet Susic
could be tempted to start with a more adventurous 4-4-2 formation with Ibisevic
alongside Dzeko up front.
Portugal: Rui Patricio; Joao Pereira, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao;
Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul Meireles, Miguel Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Nani; Helder
Bosnia: Asmir Begovic; Adnan Zahirovic, Emir Spahic, Sanel Jahic, Sasa
Papac; Haris Medunjanin, Elvir Rahimic, Miralem Pjanic, Senad Lulic; Vedad
Ibisevic, Edin Dzeko
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