Portugal gives its stars needed rest
Portugal has already clinched first place in its group, and Switzerland is no longer in contention. Portugal's coach, Brazilian Felipe Luiz Scolari, is expected to let several of his starting players get some rest ahead of Thursday's quarterfinal, in which it will most likely face Germany.
"Everyone needs to be ready for the match," said Portugal defender Fernando Meira, who played as a substitute in Wednesday's match against the Czech Republic, and is expected to start in place of Armando Petit tonight.
Portuguese media have reported that only four of the team's starting players will open against Switzerland, including goalkeeper Ricardo.
Nani, Ricardo Quaresma and Raul Meireles will be bumped into the starting roster, letting stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco and Simao get some much needed downtime. Switzerland coach Kobi Kuhn is hoping for a win at home, even if his team's chances of advancing are nil, and history is not exactly on its side - the Swiss have not beaten the Portuguese in 26 years.
"Why not, they will be playing with several players missing, we want to end on a high note, and I think it would be nice to beat Portugal in the last match," he said.
Swiss defender Patrick Mueller suggested that Portugal's squad rotation would not make their task any easier.
"The players on the bench want to show what they can do so they can get on the pitch," he said. Meira insisted his squad would be "playing to win," adding: "That's what Portugal tries to do in every game. I don't understand this idea that the players might enter more relaxed or with indifference."
Meira also played down suggestions that Scolari's announcement that he will be taking over from Avram Grant as Chelsea manager after tournament has disrupted his team.
"It's not going to be a problem for us because we still have him until the end of the European Championship," Meira said. "It's important the team thinks only about the football part. We have him until June 30."