Football: Portugal coach defends Alves tough tactics

Portugal coach Fernando Santos leaped to the defence of hard man Bruno Alves.

Loire: Portugal coach Fernando Santos leaped to the defence of hard man Bruno Alves on Monday following accusations by European Championship opponents Iceland about his no-holds-barred tactics.

Santos said the 31-year-old Alves is "a great player" and insisted there are many more with worse records.

Iceland coach Lars Lagerback called ahead of Tuesday`s Group F game for tougher action against "acting on the pitch". The Iceland camp has attacked Alves` record in particular. 

Santos replied: "He`s a great player and in 85 games for the national side he has one red card. There are many players with less games and more reds. Looking at the stats you can see he`s not a violent player."

Alves, now with Fenerbahce in Turkey, apologised to his Portugal teammates after being sent off for a brutal challenge on England`s Harry Kane during a friendly before the tournament.

"I am very sorry for what happened. I admit the mistake and assume the consequences," Alves said at the time. 

Santos said Iceland are also "physically strong" and that Portugal are anxious to get their Euro 2016 started. 

"The important thing for us it to know we`re playing against an excellent side who are very well-organised.

"They know how to take advantage of what they create during the game, they are a clinical side with some very good players. It will be a very even and difficult game for us."

Real Madrid`s Pepe has also been targeted for `acting`, but Santos did not comment on his case. 
Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho said "We`ve got a group full of quality who are very united."

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