Warsaw: Portugal defender Pepe says that the team`s 1-0 quarter-final victory over Czech Republic on Thursday shows that they can make their mark at Euro 2012.
A late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo proved the difference between the two sides and earned the Seleccao passage to the semi-finals, where they will tackle either Spain or France, who face off on Saturday.
Pepe is thrilled to see his side progress to the last-four stage and revealed that his team-mates are prepared to take on either La Roja or Les Bleus.
"We secured an important victory, which puts us in the semi-finals," he told reporters after the game.
"Spain or France? We do not have any preference. Those are two great teams. We are waiting for them. I hope I will play well in that game and that we reach the final."
Portugal had to face their share of criticism after losing to Germany in their opening group game and narrowly beating Denmark to keep their qualification hopes alive. Pepe insists that the scathing remarks have only made the squad stronger.
"Criticism makes us grow," he said. "The important thing is that we know we have the capacity to go as far as possible. That is how we have always approached this tournament.
"We have always felt the support of the Portuguese people. We are a small country, but with many qualities.
"We have shown that we are a strong footballing country and we have a statement to make in this competition."
Portugal`s semi-final contest is scheduled for Wednesday, June 27 in Donetsk.
First Published: Friday, June 22, 2012, 13:14