Rúben Dias fires warning about inflated egos ahead of Euro 2024 after Portugal loss to Croatia

Portugal’s immaculate qualifying campaign for Euro 2024 raised expectations of a triumphant tournament in Germany among fans and many pundits, but the unbridled optimism was given a sharp reality check yesterday.

Against Croatia, by far the highest-quality team the Seleção have faced in the Roberto Martínez era, Portugal were largely outplayed, lost 2-1 and were grateful to goalkeeper Diogo Costa for not suffering a larger margin of defeat.

Centre-back Rúben Dias, in typically forthright fashion, said the players must put their egos to one side, focus on the collective and correct what went wrong if Portugal want to enjoy a successful European Championship. 

Rúben Dias speaking after Portugal 1-2 Croatia

“It was a good game to come back down to earth. No matter how much talent we have, no matter how many great individuals we have, the collective has to work and the collective has to understand each moment of the game better. From that point of view we have a long way to go.

“The good thing is with the quality and the intelligence of the players we have we can improve quickly when we understand what is missing, and above all today this was the case, in a competitive context against a top team.

“It was a very important game for us to look at carefully, with a lot of attention, even from the point of view of the ego of each one of us, come back down to earth and realise that yes, if we are all at our best we can do what everyone knows we are capable of doing, but if we are not at our best we are like just any other team and we can get knocked out.” 

by Tom Kundert 

Related: Portugal 1-2 Croatia match report