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Holland hold no fear for Patricio.

Byline: Gordon Waddell

Portugal keeper Rui Patricio is well aware his side face an onslaught from a world-class attack in Kharkiv tonight.

But he reckons he has a world-class stopper in Pepe to shield him from it.

The 24-year-old keeper is staring down the barrel of a gun with Holland needing a two-goal victory - as well as a German win over Denmark - if they are to squeeze into the knockout stages.

But he is confident the Real Madrid defender in front of him can cope with whatever is thrown at him - whether it's the best marksman from the Bundesliga or top scorer in the English Premier League.

The Sporting Lisbon No.1 said: "Pepe's one of the world's best central defenders. He's aggressive and quick and we get on very well - I understand just what he's going to do.

"We both know that we're up against a strong team with a great attacking spearhead.

"But we also know what we can do and we are going to give everything to win. We need to be focused on our task, whether it's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or Robin van Persie that plays."

Portugal boss Paulo Bento is equally wary of the Dutch - but insists he will be sticking to his game plan rather than let Holland impose theirs.

Bento said: "Although they haven't yet won a match, the Netherlands deserve a lot of respect.

"They have a great pedigree and can also reach the quarter-finals.

"But I'm an optimist - or I wouldn't be here. My team have to play to our strategy. We must believe in our goal and that everything depends on our organisation and talent.

"What matters is the effort the players put in, that they implement our tactics and are ready to sacrifice.

"We have already shown great defensive quality. We will try to counter-attack better and will fight until the end."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 17, 2012
Words:316
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