Iberians out to start well

Portugal are confident of going one better than their runner-up place in Euro 2004 when they kick-off against Turkey tomorrow.

With Cristiano Ronaldo, then a raw if very talented teenager but now arguably Europe's top player, the Portuguese hope to finally lift their first major trophy.

"Like all of us, Ronaldo will defend Portugal up to the last minute of the last game. He knows his importance to the team," said defender Fernando Meira.

First, they must make a better start than in 2004 on home soil when they were upset in their opening match – an ominous earlier defeat by the Greeks.

"We have to make a winning start although I don't agree with those who believe that whichever team wins this match will be practically in the quarter-finals," said goalkeeper Ricardo.

Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has a fit squad after the minor scare when Ronaldo had to put ice on a knock on his right ankle during training on Monday, the squad's first day in Switzerland.

Midfielder Deco, also expected to play, did light training apart from the rest of the squad yesterday for muscle-toning purposes, team doctor Henrique Jones told reporters. "However, I can guarantee he will be 100 per cent for the first game against Turkey," he said.

The Turks, making their first appearance at a major tournament since finishing third at the 2002 World Cup, are also injury free going into the match.

Midfielder Hamit Altintop, who was out for two months after breaking a metatarsal bone in a friendly against Belarus in March, has declared himself fit despite suffering a muscle problem in training last week. Coach Fatih Terim will wait to the last minute to make a decision on the player.

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