Portugal v Ghana preview: Under pressure boss won't quit if Portugal go out
Portugal manager Paulo Bento is adamant he will not resign even if his side fail to qualify for the World Cup knockout stages on Thursday.
Bento’s position has come under scrutiny after his team were thrashed 4-0 by Germany and a last-gasp equaliser from Silvestre Varela salvaged a 2-2 draw with the USA.
Varela’s injury-time goal gives Portugal a glimmer of hope but their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages are out of their hands.
Bento’s side must beat Ghana in Brasilia and hope the match between Germany and the United States does not end in a draw.
If Germany win, Portugal need to make up a five-goal swing while a USA victory would mean they need to recover an eight-goal deficit.
The chances are undoubtedly slim but Bento, whose contract runs until 2016, insists his job is safe whatever the outcome.
“What exactly do you want me to answer? If I’m going to continue with the team? I have repeated many times, the situation is very specific, very calm,” Bento said.
“The federation trust me and the president trusts me, this goes way back.”
Bento continued: “What I can say is that my feeling today is the same feeling I had before the (World Cup play-off) match against Sweden, when I talked about the pride, happiness and joy for being the head of the national team and how much trust I have in the players that took us this far.
“In April there was an agreement with the Portugal Football Federation (Bento signed a two-year extension to his contract).
“Whatever happens in the match against Ghana, I am not going to resign from my job as a coach, it’s not my intention, it’s not the intention of the federation staff or the president of the federation.”
Ghana’s prospects of qualification are less remote although they also need to beat Portugal and hope for a winner in the match between Germany and the USA.
The Black Stars’ best hope is for the USA to lose, leaving them needing to win and turn round a two-goal deficit.
“Ghanaians have a strong mentality in football,” said Ghana manager Kwesi Appiah.
“We always believe we have to fight to the end never mind what happens initially.”
Portugal defender Pepe is available again after serving his suspension for a red card against Germany.
Full-back Fabio Coentrao is ruled out through injury while Hugo Almeida and Helder Postiga are doubtful.
Ghana right-back Daniel Opare is out injured and Sulley Muntari is suspended after collecting two yellow cards, meaning Michael Essien could make his first start of the tournament.