(This interview with Fernando Chalana was made by the journalist Carlos Nogueira for the national daily Diário de Notícias (08/10/14). On any copyright issues, please contact footballportugal.)
Seleção: 27 games, 2 goals
Clubs: Barreirense, Benfica, Bordeaux, Belenenses, Estrela da Amadora
Now: youth team coach at Benfica
Fernando (Albino Sousa) Chalana was the protagonist of one of the most fantastic games between Portugal and France. Portugal lost 2-3 in the semi-finals of Euro ’84, but the left-winger put on a show with his dummies and the two passes for Jordão’s goals. Still today, the former player guarantees that he doesn’t know how he taunted the defenders.
In 1984, before you left for France with the Seleção to play in the European Championship, did you think at any moment that the tournament would change your life?
I never imagined that it would turn my career upside down. It was a fantastic European Championship; no one imagined that we would finish third. I remember that at the time the newspapers said that it would be a disaster, that we’d be eliminated at the group stage.
But why did everyone say that it was going to be a disaster?
Before we left for France we lost to Yugoslavia 2-3 at the National Stadium, and five days before the first game with West Germany we beat Luxembourg, but we played badly, really badly. But when we drew with the Germans, we started to think that it would be possible to do something beautiful at the Euros.
You drew with Germany and Spain and beat Romania. Next up was the semi-final against France, a game that began badly for Portugal …
Yes, the French scored first through Domergue. Bento [the Portuguese ‘keeper] thought the free-kick was going to be taken by Platini, but it was Domergue who took it. It took him by surprise. In fact, it took us all by surprise.
And then you came into your own and offered Rui Jordão two goals. Do you still remember those moves?
Of course I do. It was one of those games that I’ll never forget. But I have to tell you that I never planned what I was going to do on the pitch – it came naturally and I didn’t even think that what I was doing was that good. When I see the videos of my games, I ask myself how I did all that.
And how did you do all those dummies?
I don’t know. It was all intuitive, natural. It was all very quick. I just knew that I had to do something and that’s what came out.
Didn’t the French players threaten you during the game for doing those things to them?
They never provoked me … and I ran away from them!
For the second goal, the way you feinted Domergue and crossed for Jordão to score has become famous. How did you do that?
All I knew was that I had to put the ball in the area. And zaz … I pulled the ball one way … zaz, I pulled it the other way … and I left the French defender behind me. Then I crossed hard and Jorão hit the ball well – he was a great striker. But look, for the first goal as well I put the ball on Jordão’s head. We made a great duo for the Seleção.
But on 115 minutes, Domergue equalised. At 2-2 with five minutes left, you didn’t imagine that you wouldn’t get to the Final, did you?
No. We were convinced that we’d go to penalties and we had a lot of faith in Bento. He would have saved two or three penalties for sure – he was a specialist. Only we lost the ball a minute from the end and let Tigana and Platini pass to each other and they scored.
That goal by Platini must have been hard on you?
I almost cried, but I managed to hold back the tears. It was hard because we never thought we’d lost that game. It was Portugal’s first participation in a European Championship and we ended up doing some beautiful things. We surpassed all expectations.
Some say Portugal showed a lot of inexperience in the way they lost against France. Do you agree?
No, no way. At the time we were all top players, used to playing in international competitions. It was football, that’s all. Those things happen sometimes.
At the end of the game, despite the sadness, did you swap shirts with anyone?
[laughing] I asked Platini for his shirt but he said he wouldn’t swap. I’ve got a photo where there’s me, the French coach [Michel Hidalgo] and Platini, just after he refused to swap shirts with me.
Is Cristiano Ronaldo the modern day Chalana of the Seleção?
No! Ronaldo is the best in the world. He does things I could never do … but then there are things I did that he doesn’t. He’s more explosive and I was more skillful.
Are you optimistic about what your friend Fernando Santos can do with the Seleção?
I wish him a lot of luck. I think he’s going to qualify us for Euro 2016, which is also in France. The return of the players that weren’t called up [under Paulo Bento] and the new kids coming through will help him a lot.