Portugal will have to recover their intensity and hunger to beat France after a disappointing 4-2 defeat by Germany.
“We need to be what we have always been, a very combative team which plays with solidarity,” Pepe said ahead of the game – a rematch of the Euro 2016 final, which Portugal won 1-0 after extra time.
“After Germany, we were very sad but we’ve thoroughly analyzed our performance and we want to show what we’re worth. The last match wasn’t good, that’s true, but tomorrow we have the chance to prove our doubters wrong and play at our best level.”
However, the defeat by Germany was the first time Portugal had conceded four times in 58 games under coach Fernando Santos and only the second time they had let in three goals.
“That was not the Portugal we all know,” Santos added. “We have experienced players and they don’t always win. There are times when the top teams don’t deal well with defeat but our players are used to reacting.”
Meanwhile, Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny insists the make-or-break nature of the final group game against Sweden has simplified their approach.
With just one point in Group E, the Poles have to win if they are to make the knockout stage.
Three years ago at the World Cup in Russia, Poland were the first European team to be eliminated after losing their opening two matches but the point they secured against Spain last time out has given them a lifeline.
“After our first match at the 2018 World Cup, when we still had two matches ahead of us and could qualify from the group, there was no spirit in the team,” he told Euro 2020.com.
“Here, after the first match, even though we’d put ourselves in a very difficult position, you could tell we had faith and the will to qualify. Mentally, it is pretty easy when you know you have to win the match. No need to speculate.
“So the mental approach to such a game is much simpler because you don’t leave any energy for the last few minutes or the next match. You play for your life, and I think that can help us.”