Euro 2024: Portugal vs. Slovenia preview - “The tournament starts now!”

Portugal boss Roberto Martínez is looking forwards to the Seleção’s Round of Last 16 clash versus Slovenia on Monday night by claiming that the real tournament “starts now”.

Cristiano Ronaldo and co. booked their passage to the next round of the competition after defeating Turkey in Matchday Two of Group F, but have been followed into their next fixture by a haunting 2-0 defeat to Georgia.

Martínez is keen to fully switch attentions to their next game versus Slovenia, however, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

Speaking ahead of their meet-up versus the underdogs, the Spanish manager spoke highly of Portugal’s opponents, outlining what the nation can expect and, additionally, what they’ll need to overcome the test.

“After three games, the team is ready. Tomorrow, a new tournament starts and we’re ready for the game,” Martínez claimed.

“I know how hard it is for a national team manager to manage his country for 100 games. Slovenia plays like a club, they understand their system perfectly and they’re showing that currently on the pitch. What they’ve done so far will be remembered, I like them a lot, but tomorrow we must win.

“We have to use our link-up play, control the moments in the game and our emotions, as well as showcasing our individual talent. That’s what we’re good at, but of course, we must be mindful that Slovenia are very strong defensively and that we must be patient.”

Bruno’s words

Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes echoed his manager’s words in the build-up to the highly-anticipated clash, calling for his teammates to keep their cool when breaking defensive teams, such as Slovenia, down.

“When facing low blocks, there’s no space between the lines, so we have to pass sideways a bit more and stay patient,” the playmaker said.

“Both of our goals [against Czechia] came from sideways passes…that’s why I say we need to be patient, because if we tire them out by keeping the ball, we’re closer to our goals.

“We’ll have to find solutions - if we can’t break through the middle, we’ll have to try play wide and get crosses in, finding solutions that give us success.”

Bruno Fernandes was also quizzed on the minimum that he expects from himself and his teammates in Germany, providing a rather frank and inspiring answer.

“The minimum is that Portugal wins all its games, which means going to the final and winning Euro 2024,” the Selecão’s number 8 said. We take it game-by-game here and I believe nobody’s come here thinking we’ll go home early. We’re a very competitive squad and we want to go as far as possible.”


For many of the names in the current Portugal squad, they won’t need the history books to educate them much on head-to-head encounters versus Slovenia, with the two nations meeting as early as March 2024.

The last and only fixture saw Slovenia humble the Seleção das Quinas with a 2-0 victory in a friendly, with Kek’s men looking to replicate the recipe in their first ever knockout stage clash.

Monday’s clash will only be Portugal’s second ever meeting with Slovenia, who come into the game off the back of three consecutive group stage draws and nine games unbeaten.

By Patrick Ribeiro