Patrícia Morais promises that Portugal will give everything for the ’round of 16

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The goalkeeper Patrícia Morais, titular in eight of the 13 games of the qualification for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, believes that Portugal can overcome the group stage and promises a team that will do everything to achieve it.

“I expect quite positive things. I think it’s important to think positive, to believe in ourselves. Each of us has a personal goal, but we will all fight to achieve what are our major goals (collective), which is to pass the group stage,” said in an interview with Lusa the 31-year-old goalkeeper.

The Portuguese team knows it will not find it easy in New Zealand, in a Group E with the defending champions (United States) and runners-up (Netherlands) and Vietnam, but also promises to make life difficult for its opponents.

“We know it’s a very difficult group, but, if we want, if we keep our humility, our warrior capacity, which is what characterizes us… we are a team with a lot of ambition, that never gives up, and, certainly, if for us it will be difficult, for the others, for the opponents, too”, explained the Portuguese number 12.

Until the World Cup2013, which starts on July 20 – and lasts until August 20 – with the Portuguese debut on the 23rd, against the Netherlands, there is still a lot of work to be done, so there is no anxiety, even because the proof does not seem real yet.

“It’s normal to feel some emotions, some sensations. Actually, I haven’t really fallen into myself yet for the fact that I’m in the World Cup. I think that only when I step on New Zealand again will I believe that we all can do it. It’s thinking step by step, game by game, not thinking ahead. We still have a long way to go in terms of preparation”, Patrícia Morais said to Lusa.

A guarda-redes que representou o Sporting de Braga em 2022/23 está-se a preparar para a aventura, depois de já mais de uma década ao serviço da seleção nacional, com os seus altos e baixos.

“Felizmente, já estou há alguns anos no futebol e já tive várias experiências, momentos bons e momentos maus. A aprendi que todos nós vamos continuar a errar, que não há jogos perfeitos, mas também não há jogos muito maus”, explicou.

Patrícia Morais já teve de enfrentar o ‘rótulo’ de ‘culpada’, algo que não a colocou para baixo, muito pelo contrário.

“Obviamente que quando nos referindo a um jogo como o da Rússia [derrota caseira por 1-0 no apuramento para o Euro2022], é bom recordar. Eu gosto de recordar, apesar de ser negativo, porque nós crescemos mais a olhar para o negativo do que a olhar para o positivo. Pelo menos, esta é a minha forma de pensar”, frisou.

O segredo é o foco: “Em todos os jogos, temos de estar concentrados do primeiro ao último minuto. Lá está, podemos ter um jogo em que não tenhamos tantas ações, podemos ter um jogo em que nem sequer tocamos na bola, e podemos ter outro em que constantemente estamos em ação”.

“O principal é que temos que ter uma mentalidade muito forte, temos de estar focadas em todos os momentos do jogo e isso também nos faz crescer, ajuda-nos a crescer enquanto jogadoras e a amadurecer em campo. Agora, é bom sinal não ter tanto trabalho, é sinal que estamos cada vez melhores”, frisou à Lusa.

To Oceania, Patrícia Morais arrives with more than 80 internationalizations (83), in an ‘adventure’ that began at the age of 19, on August 25, 2011, in a private match with Turkey, which ended in a Portuguese victory by 2-1, in Rio Maior.

“Memories? Yes, obviously, the first one is always memorable. We always remember what is special to us. I definitely remember that game and the team I played with, which was Turkey. It was a very good moment and a huge happiness to be able to represent my country,” he recalled.

From then to now, much has changed: “There are, without a doubt, many differences, namely in the conditions we have, both at the championship level and at the national team level. A lot has changed and for the better, thank God. Women’s soccer in Portugal is growing a lot more and the federation is also to blame, as it has given us the conditions to enjoy what we most like, which is to play soccer”, she said.

In his specific position, there are now conditions that didn’t exist a decade ago: “As far as I remember, I didn’t have a goalkeeper training course and, obviously, since then, there’s been more and more specific training. And that’s very good, it helps us grow and there’s no doubt that it was very advantageous, a very big evolution from 2011 to 2023”.

The Portuguese women’s national team is a newcomer to the 2023 World Cup, to be held in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20. The Portuguese team is in Group E, with the Netherlands (game on July 23, in Dunedin), Vietnam (27th, in Hamilton), and the United States (August 1, in Auckland).

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