That was the stark message for their coach, Dave Sexton, as his squad headed home after Tuesday's 2-2 draw against Norway in their friendly international.
Portugal, who went one point clear in Group Six on Tuesday, thanks to a1-0 win over Austria, boast a superior goal difference, and complete their fixtures by entertaining the Republic of Ireland on the same day that England play. It will be a major surprise if Ireland do block their path, although they forced a draw at home to Portugal in April.
Peter Bonetti, the goalkeeping coach to England Under-21s, said: "The Portuguese have got themselves in this position because of their defensive record. They have only conceded one goal in seven games.
"We were hoping Austria might pick up a point, but it doesn't look good for us now."Reuse content