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Ronaldo scoffs at Spain fatigue claims

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OPALENICA, Poland, June 26 – Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has dismissed talk that their Spanish rivals have reason to complain because they have two days less to recover before their Euro 2012 semi-final clash on Wednesday.

“Three days rest is more than sufficient. The Spanish have commented that having two fewer days rest is a disadvantage, but as a professional I don’t think it’s important,” the Real Madrid striker was quoted as saying on UEFA’s website.

Portugal advanced to the semi-finals last Thursday by beating the Czech Republic 1-0, while defending champions’ Spain beat France 2-0 on Saturday.

“You have to prepare for the match in the same way that we prepared for the others. We don’t have to do anything different. It will be a hard clash in which Portugal has to do very well to beat Spain.

“We are ready and we will do our best,” said Ronaldo, who has scored three goals so far in the tournament.

Ronaldo leads the scoring chart alongside Germany’s Mario Gomez, Russia’s Alan Dzagoev and Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic, but the latter two are already back home with their sides eliminated in the group stage.

“I knew the goals would come. It didn’t start very well, but with the sacrifices of my teammates everything improved,” said Ronaldo.

And he insisted he remains calm before the Iberian clash in Dontesk.

“These games are part of my life. I have ten years playing them in clubs and for the national side so I have to be used to them. Responsibility yes, pressure no,” he said.

“It’s nice that Portugal have a chance to reach another final after eight years (Euro 2004 final loss to Greece when Portugal hosted the championship). It will be difficult but we are only one step away.

“We have done a great job, not only in the finals of the Euros, but also in the qualifying round. And now we are reaping the fruit.”

UEFA opens racism cases against Spain, Russia

UEFA said on Tuesday that it had opened disciplinary proceedings against Spain and Russia for racist behaviour and chanting by their fans during Euro 2012.

The first case against the Spanish Football Federation concerns La Roja’s opening Group C game against Italy on June 10, after which it was claimed that a section of Spanish supporters racially abused striker Mario Balotelli.

The second case against the Russian Football Union relates to the country’s first Group A game against the Czech Republic on June 8, following which it was claimed that defender Theodor Gebre Selassie was taunted with racial slurs.

European football’s governing body said in a statement on its website that it would deal with both cases on Thursday.

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