Speaking before his team’s final group game with South Korea in Qatar, Portugal coach Fernando Santos has explained he is not thinking about avoiding Brazil in the last 16 and is instead looking to win Group H to gain an extra day’s rest before his team’s second round tie. Santos said:
′′It makes a difference if we play three days later rather than four days later. This is more important than whether or not we play Brazil. I understand why some might want to avoid Brazil, but neither I nor Tite [Brazil’s coach] will be worrying about that. When you have a challenge like this and you want to achieve something great, you can’t worry about these sorts of things. It’s more important to think about those 24 hours of rest, that’s why we want to win the game and finish first.”
A draw with South Korea will see Portugal win Group H and likely avoid Brazil who are expected to win the adjacent Group G. The winners of Group H will play their next game on Tuesday whereas the runners-up will play on Monday.