Portugal vow to get back on track

Portuguese national soccer team player Andre Silva speaks during a press conference in Oeiras, near Lisbon, Portugal on Oct 5, 2016.
Portuguese national soccer team player Andre Silva speaks during a press conference in Oeiras, near Lisbon, Portugal on Oct 5, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

LISBON • European champions Portugal will not let their guard down during their upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and the Faroe Islands, Porto forward Andre Silva said on Wednesday.

"We are going to attack as much as possible and try to score as quickly as possible," he told a news conference before a training session.

"I know that people see us as favourites... we acknowledge we are the favourites, but we can't let our guard down. We intend to give our all to win in every match."

Silva, 20, who got his first call-up to the senior national squad last month for a friendly against Gibraltar and a World Cup qualifier against Switzerland, added that he was proud to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I have not been in the team for long but he is the best player in the world," he said.

"Just being near him, in the same team, makes me happy and I hope to score many times alongside him. Of course I am proud."

Valencia winger Nani will not be available for the match against Andorra today due to a muscle injury.

Benfica forward Pizzi will step up in his place in Portugal's 24-man squad, the Portuguese Football Federation said yesterday.

Nani, who played a starring role in Portugal's Euro 2016 triumph in France, has a muscle strain in his right leg but the 29-year-old should be fit for the qualifier at the Faroe Islands on Monday.

Portugal began their qualifying campaign for Russia 2018 with a 0-2 loss away to Switzerland on Sept 6.

Portugal captain and record scorer Ronaldo missed that match through injury but should return for his country today.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline 'Portugal vow to get back on track'. Print Edition | Subscribe