Portugal defender Joao Pereira refuted team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo's suggestion they lack quality at the FIFA World Cup.
Paulo Bento's men were on the brink of World Cup elimination when trailing the United States 2-1 on Sunday, before Ronaldo whipped in an inch-perfect cross that was converted by Silvestre Varela to give Portugal life in Brazil.
Portugal remain in a dire position in Group G, requiring a healthy enough victory over Ghana to overhaul either of the USA or Germany on four points - with a draw in the latter's fixture spelling the end of their tournament also.
Ronaldo was quoted as saying Portugal - semi-finalists at Euro 2012 - had "limitations" and said "qualifying for the finals was problematic".
However, Pereira said he could not believe the Real Madrid star would denigrate his own team-mates.
"I don't know if those were exactly his words. I very much doubt that he said Portugal lack in quality," Pereira said.
"Two years ago everyone was saying that this team was full of talent during the Euros. We didn't miss that quality.
"We fought as hard as we could but it didn't happen.
"We started the tournament with a defeat. Yesterday we scored first but then we conceded the equaliser.
"We are not the best team in the world. We are not even in the top three but we have a lot of talent and you can see that in our players and in the clubs where they play."
Pereira defended coach Bento in light of criticism following their stagnant group-stage campaign, which saw them thrashed 4-0 by Germany and seconds away from defeat - and an exit - against the USA.
"We are responsible for that. Us players go onto the pitch. We take the good and the bad decisions on the field. We are the ones to blame," Pereira said.
"It's not over until Thursday as I said. Regardless the result, we will face our responsibility. We will be here no matter if we are qualified for the last 16 or not."
Portugal take on Ghana in Brasilia on Thursday.
|Coach: Paulo Bento|
for João Pereira 61'
for Éder 69'
for Beto 89'
|Gabriel not happy at Inter, says agent|
|PSG just another game for returning Balotelli|
|Dortmund eye top spot and a goalscoring record - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Southgate bids farewell to England assistant Lee|
|Europa League can help Spurs end Wembley hoodoo - Pochettino|
|Watmore´s season ended by injury|
|Zidane: Dortmund clash is a final|
|Gotze to miss Madrid test|
|Lacazette to ponder Lyon future|
|Griezmann lauds ´world class´ Aubameyang|
|Sporting´s in-demand Gelson going nowhere, claims agent|
|FA appoints new lead QC as scope of child sexual abuse review is outlined|
|Hodgson: England players failed to grasp my instructions|
|Xhaka pleads for time to settle in at Arsenal|
|Kluivert urges PSG to learn from Montpellier humbling|
|Augenthaler tips Bayern captain Lahm to play on|
|Rodgers: Celtic growing in confidence in Europe|
|Brazil-Colombia friendly proposed to raise money for Chapecoense|
|If you don´t play, you can´t shine - Hummels urges Mourinho to believe in Mkhitaryan|
|Ronaldinho ready to help Chapecoense|
|United can still finish top four - Guardiola|
|Bale´s ankle ´feeling better every day´|
|Sarri: Napoli in Lisbon to win|
|Watford and West Brom hit with FA charge|
|Karanka delighted with Boro´s game management|
|Middlesbrough 1 Hull City 0: Ramirez sinks sorry Tigers|
|Can Arsenal break the Basel curse? The Champions League in Opta Numbers|
|Everton confirm serious knee injury for Bolasie|
|Stam set for Old Trafford reunion in FA Cup third round|
|Sanchez, Ozil contract talks not just about money - Wenger|
|It is normal my son says I´ll coach Inter, I will - Simeone|
|Chapecoense confirmed as Copa Sudamericana champions|
|Sullivan backs Bilic to reverse Hammers´ fortunes|
|It was close...very close - Hummels reveals level of Man United interest|
|What You Might Have Missed: An FA Cup comeback of all comebacks and Monaco can´t stop scoring|
|Preston fans to be refunded from Beckford, Doyle fight fines|
|In-demand Lindelof ´happy to stay at Benfica´|
|FA charges City and Chelsea for late fracas|
|Darmstadt sack coach and sporting director after dismal run|
|Anyone who says they would not sign Messi is a liar! - Caballero|
|Roberto warns Madrid: Barcelona will cut the gap|
|Emery: Champions League top spot was always PSG´s priority|
|Guardiola brands Sanchez transfer rumours as lies|
|Boateng ruled out of Bayern´s clash with Atletico|
|FA confirms four-game ban for Aguero|
|Blatter FIFA ban remains after CAS dismisses appeal|
|Luis Enrique: I don´t give a damn about beating Gladbach|
|Emre hits out at Allardyce´s style... and slams his chewing gum|
|Bravo the world´s best goalkeeper, says Pellegrini|
|Ibrahimovic: I know how to kick someone and make him fall asleep|
|Barcelona and Real Madrid would not win 5-0 in Ligue 1 - Verratti|
|Seedorf out, Eriksson in at second-tier Chinese club|
|Tevez to China? Shanghai Shenhua claim ´breakthrough´ in talks|
|´English football is not more pure´ – Pochettino will not slam Alli for ´dive´|
|Gudjohnsen offers his services to Chapecoense|
|Savicevic: Champions League qualification paramount for Milan|
|Wenger: West Ham could take two years to settle|
|River Plate play in green as tribute to Chapecoense|
|Roberto Carlos open to coaching in A-League|
|Wenger confident there is more to come from Arsenal|
|Kane wants to see out career at Tottenham|
|Aguero challenge labelled ´crazy´ by disappointed Cahill|
|Mourinho ´has nothing to hide´ over tax affairs|
|Guardiola happy despite City setback|
|Ibrahimovic: I tried to avoid Coleman|
|Pogba hits out at ´distorted´ holiday claim|
|Nice 3 Toulouse 0: Plea strikes again as hosts go top|
|In-demand Belotti extends Torino stay|
|Mourinho defends decision to bring on Fellaini|
|Man Utd performances much better under me, says Mourinho|
|Draw the least Everton deserved against Manchester United, says Koeman|
|Mourinho fumes at media double standards|
|Mourinho has ´no thoughts´ on Fellaini penalty incident|
|Neville unimpressed by ´idiotic´ Fellaini|
|Manchester United are the Premier League´s worst team for dropping points with late goals|
|Manchester United mocked after Fellaini congratulations|
|´We have to put it right´ - Jones frustrated as United lose another late lead|
|Lulic sparks racism storm with Rudiger insult|
|Everton 1 Manchester United 1: Late Baines penalty denies Mourinho|
|Eto´o prefers Iniesta to Ronaldo and Messi: He deserves four Ballons d´Or|
|Liverpool join unfortunate group after Bournemouth collapse|
|Strootman praises Roma´s mental strength after derby win|
|Comeback win over Liverpool a special day for Bournemouth - Howe|
|Liverpool stopped playing football in Bournemouth collapse - Klopp|
|Lazio 0 Roma 2: Strootman and Nainggolan continue Giallorossi dominance|
|Bournemouth hero Ake hails incredible comeback win over Liverpool|
|Montella hails Lapadula´s ´fairytale´ rise to AC Milan stardom|
|Beautiful football is Guardiola´s Bayern legacy - Rummenigge|
|Bournemouth 4 Liverpool 3: Stunning comeback leaves Klopp´s men reeling|
|Lopes set for several weeks of treatment on ´sound trauma´|
|Lapadula: This is just the start of my Milan journey|
|AC Milan 2 Crotone 1: Lapadula winner spares Niang´s blushes|
|Torres fit for Bayern Munich clash|
|Dortmund´s Sahin fears eased|
|Eto´o: Guardiola still the best coach in the world|
|Carvajal apologises for swearing at Barcelona fans|
|MP calls for examination of Mourinho tax avoidance allegations|
|A-League Review: Sydney go six points clear at top as Adelaide clinch first win|
|Referee sorry amid fall-out from Werner dive controversy|
|Pique taking inspiration from 2014-15 turnaround|
|Aulas: Lyon should be awarded win after Metz clash is abandoned|
|Emery: PSG must learn from defeat|
|Marotta: Best to laugh at Pogba comments|
|Mourinho: I´m bringing back Manchester United DNA|
|De Boer: Nobody in charge at Inter|
|Chapecoense to be named Copa Sudamericana champions - Tozzo|
|Bilic: We are in a relegation fight|
|Aubameyang: I don´t know if I´ll be at Dortmund next season|
|Goals will return for Higuain, says Allegri|
|Southgate hopes to convince Zaha to play for England|
|Simeone will go to Inter, says son Giovanni|
|Watford fan dies after falling ill during West Brom clash|