Despite many rumors that Paulo Bento might resign if Portugal is eliminated prematurely from the World Cup, the coach told reporters that he has no such intentions.
Portugal has a very minimal chance of making the knockout stage after losing their first game to Germany by a large margin and then barely coming up with a draw against the USMNT. Cristiano Ronaldo delivered a perfect cross to Silvestre Varela with seconds left to go in extra time. Varela finished it off and gave Portugal a chance.
Bento’s position has come under the spotlight after the two disappointing performances at the World Cup.
Portugal’s only chance of qualification starts off with them needing a win against Ghana. Next, nothing will matter unless USA loses to Germany, and by a big margin. A total of five goals separates Portugal from USA, so Portugal will need to win by a few goals and USA will have to lose by a few goals. It feels like a huge ask, especially given the way Portugal have been playing.
“I do believe in miracles,” said Pepe, who is available for their game against Ghana after serving a one match suspension.
Portugal will likely be heading home, hence the issues surrounding Bento’s job security.
“What exactly do you want me to answer?” Bento asked. “If I’m going to continue with the team? I have repeated many times, the situation is very specific, very peaceful. The federation trusts me and the president trusts me, this goes way back. The same with the qualification, against Azerbaijan and Israel. They never failed to trust me and they trust me now.
“What I can say is that my feeling today is the same feeling I had before the match against Sweden, when I talked about the pride, happiness, and joy for being the head of the national team and how much trust I have in the players that took us this far.
“In April there was an agreement with the Portugal Football Federation. Whatever happens in the match against Ghana, I am not going to resign from my job as a coach, it’s not my intention, it’s not the intention of the federation staff or the president of the federation.”
When asked about the chances Germany and USA could play out a draw, Bento answered, “No, I’m not afraid of that. You need to have respect, dignity in football, nothing else. The United States and Germany have a match, we’ll play our match. In football, my history is of respect to others so others would respect me.”
The Portuguese press conference was nothing short of heated as the coach and players were under fire of the media throughout.
If Bento doesn’t qualify, he won’t resign. However, that doesn’t mean the Portuguese Federation won’t fire him.
Portugal will play Ghana on Thursday, June 26 at 12:00pm.