Aaron Hughes expects Northern Ireland to see precious little of the ball against the might of Portugal on Tuesday but he still holds out hope of springing a surprise.

Having lost in Russia and suffered the ignominy of a 1-1 home draw against Luxembourg, Michael O'Neill's side face a side placed third in the FIFA rankings and are roundly expected to be brushed aside at the Dragao Stadium. But Hughes sees some reason for hope in Russia's 1-0 victory over the same opponents on Friday.

"Their players are among the best in the world and the other night in Russia they had 72 per cent or so there, and we know how hard it is against the Russians, but they ultimately still lost which they are disappointed about," said the Fulham defender.

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