Portuguese defender Pepe is not renowned for his discipline on the pitch but it is no coincidence that their progress to the Euro 2012 quarter-finals has been helped no end by the restraint he has shown here.
While Cristiano Ronaldo is the team captain and the one they look to for their creativity and goals it is his 29-year-old Real Madrid team-mate - capped 42 times since making his debut in 2007 - that is the pillar of their defence even if sometimes he stretches legality to its limits.
For there is nothing subtle about the Brazil-born central defender's defending, a style which harks back to the days of Italian badboy Claudio Gentile, charging in from behind and taking no prisoners with his challenges.
The surprise thus far here is that while he has not changed his modus operandi he has yet to be booked, though, that could all change in the even more tense surroundings of the quarter-final against Portugal provided he has recovered from the sore ankles that forced him to miss Monday training.
No surprise then that Pepe - who is known for his affability and cheery demeanour off the pitch - has accrued the nickname 'Animal' on the pitch and earned some hefty punishment for his indiscretions.
Notably he was slapped with a 10-match ban for completely losing his cool with a player from Getafe and was also held to account when he was sent off for stamping on Barcelona's Argentinian maestro Lionel Messi's hand in a Spanish Cup match earlier this year.
While his predecessor as chief of the back four Ricardo Carvalho - who fell out spectacularly with coach Paulo Bento and walked out of a training camp prior to a qualifier - was more subtle both in the tackle and verbally, Pepe is not one to hold back.
He is unafraid to speak his mind to opponents, referees and team-mates if he feels the need to.
Such was the case with experienced central defensive partner Bruno Alves, who was bawled out by Pepe during the group stages as if he were a schoolboy rather than a 30-year-old with 53 caps under his belt.
Ever the man of extremes Pepe picked up the man of the match award after the 3-2 win over Denmark - in which he scored - despite being at fault for both the goals, ball watching as Michael Krohn-Dehli headed the ball across goal to scorer Nicklas Bendtner for the first and then he was caught out of position when Bendtner scored the second.
But he does have the respect of two former internationals - not least Italian legend Franco Baresi, as well as former Holland international Stan Valckx.
Portugal's A Bola sports daily quoted both as saying: "Only Spanish pair Sergio Ramos and (Gerard) Pique are on the level of Pepe and Bruno Alves" of Portugal when it comes to defensive tandems.