BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Paulo Bento intends to stay on as Portugal coach even if the team fails to qualify from its World Cup group, saying Wednesday his tenure will be judged on results at the 2016 European Championship.
Portugal, the world’s No.4-ranked team, has just one point from its first two Group G games and is unlikely to reach the knockout stage even if it beats Ghana in Brasilia on Thursday.
“In April there was an agreement with the association that wasn’t about the results at the World Cup but our objectives for 2016,” Bento said through a translator. “I’m not going to resign from my job as coach, it’s not my intention or the intention of the federation.”
Under Bento, Portugal reached the semifinals of Euro 2012 — losing to Spain on penalties — but struggled in qualification for the World Cup and only came through a playoff against Sweden thanks to the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo, the world player of the year.
In Brazil, the Portuguese have lost 4-0 to Germany and drawn 2-2 with the United States, with Silvestre Varela’s injury-time goal keeping them in with a slim chance of progression.
Germany and the United States, which meet in Recife in the group’s other game Thursday, are three points clear of Portugal and have a far superior goal difference. A draw will result in both of those teams advancing.
“I’m not afraid (that) in the other game, there’s an agreement for a draw,” Bento said. “In football you have to have respect and dignity, be confident and nothing else. We have a match, United States and Germany have a match, too.
“We can just play our match and that’s what we’ll try and do.”
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