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SPORTS
27 Jun 2012
EURO 2012: RONALDO DENIES FEELING PRESSURE AHEAD OF SPAIN SEMI-FINAL

Portugal's influential captain Cristiano Ronaldo has denied feeling the pressure of expectation ahead of his side's semi-final against Spain.

The Real Madrid attacker, 27, has scored three goals in Portugal's last two games to guide his team to a last-four fixture in Ukraine on Wednesday.

With the hopes of the nation focused on him, Ronaldo explained: "These games are part of my life.

"I have to be used to them. Responsibility yes, pressure no."

The former Manchester United player scored twice against Netherlands to ensure Portugal's progression to the knockout stages of the tournament.

He then hit the winner in the 1-0 victory over Czech Republic, setting up a much-anticipated semi-final against neighbours and reigning world and European champions Spain.

"I knew the goals would come," said Ronaldo. "It didn't start very well, but with the sacrifices of my team-mates everything improved."

Spain have won all but one of their matches - a 1-1 draw against Italy in their opening game - scoring eight and conceding just once.

Ronaldo, who plays in Spain's La Liga along with many of the Spanish squad, is wary of the threat posed by the world's number one team.

"It will be a hard clash in which Portugal has to do very well to beat Spain," he commented.

"You have to prepare for the match in the same way that we prepared for the others. We don't have to do anything different."

The last occasion Portugal reached the final of a major tournament was in Lisbon at Euro 2004, when the hosts lost to Greece.

Ronaldo is keen to overwrite that memory with success in Poland and Ukraine.

"It's nice that Portugal have a chance to reach another final after eight years," he said. "It will be difficult but we are only one step away."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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