Portugal's new coach, the Brazilian Felipe Scolari, said in an interview given in Brazil that it was not ideal not to have to play any qualifiers for EURO 2004: "It's bad because we're going to be without a competitive atmosphere, we won't have to face difficult situations that need to be overcome, and we won't experience the different reactions to the various situations of a game."
FC Porto's influential Brazilian midfielder Deco has said that he will make a decision early in 2003 over the invitation, made by the Portuguese Football Federation, to represent Portugal as a naturalised player. In an interview with Radio Renascença, he said that the only things holding him back were a childhood dream to play for Brazil and the reaction he might expect from Portuguese players.
Orlando Peçanha of the Brazilian Association of Football Trainers has warned that Felipe Scolari cannot take up the post of coach of the Portuguese National team because he doesn't have the requisite documentation from the Association. FPF president Gilberto Madaíl has denied that there is any problem.
Portugal will play Brazil in a friendly at home on on March 29th, venue and date to be decided. The National team already has a game arranged with Italy for February 12th.
On a marsh of a pitch in Braga, Northern Portugal, the Selecção had little difficulty in imposing their game ( 2-0 ) on a far-from-strong Scotland side who have been struggling to find their game under German coach Bertie Vogts. The score was settled by Bordeaux striker Pauleta within the first quarter of an hour. On seven minutes he deflected past Douglas a shot goalwards from Sérgio Conceição, and on 15 he took up a through pass from Figo and fired home. Meantime, Figo had wasted a penalty, allowing a save from Douglas. Tiago might have extended Portugal's lead, but his header hit the bar.
The second half was peppered with substitutions on both sides that disrupted the rhythm of the game, as did the worsening playing conditions. But Portugal had more chances and never looked like losing their grip on a game that will, this time, almost definitely be the last for Agostinho Oliveira as coach; Scolari appears to be on his way. One of the things Oliveira will be remembered for will be the many players he gave débuts to; tonight they were Ricardo Rocha, Tiago, Nuno Assis, Pedro Mendes and Jorge Ribeiro.
The teams lined up:
PORTUGAL: Quim (Nélson), Fernando Meira, Fernando Couto, Ricardo Rocha, Tiago (Nuno Assis), Sérgio Conceição, Rui Costa (Pedro Mendes), Rui Jorge (Jorge Ribeiro), Figo (Marco Ferreira) Simão (Neca), Pauleta (Nuno Gomes).
SCOTLAND: Douglas, Anderson (MacInnes), Pressley, Wylkie (Severin), Naysmith, Alexander, Dailly (Devlin), Lambert (William), Ross, Donie (Kyle), Crawford.
Meanwhile, Portugal has dropped to 12th in the FIFA rankings announced Wednesday. The top 12 are:
1 (1) Brazil
2 (2) France
3 (3) Spain
4 (4) Germany
5 (5) Argentina
6 (6) England
7 (6) Mexico
8 (8) Turkey
9 (10) USA
10 (9) Holland
11 (11) Italy
12 (11) Portugal
Portugal's starting line-up to play Scotland Wednesday will include two debutees: central defender Ricardo Rocha and midfielder Tiago , both of Benfica. The full line-up is:
Quim; Fernando Couto, Fernando Meira, Ricardo Rocha; Tiago, Rui Jorge, Sérgio Conceição; Figo, Simão, Pauleta.
Portugal's U-21s beat their Greek counterparts 2-0 Tuesday. Sporting players were wholly responsible for the goals: Ricardo Quaresma was brought down in the area on 38 minutes and Carlos Martins scored from the spot, and Martins fed Quaresma who crossed for Cristiano Ronaldo to net after 54. The score could have been ampler but for the bar, Portugal's wayward shooting and a resilient Greek ´keeper. The game, played on a heavy pitch at Gil Vicente's ground in barcelos in Northern Portugal, was a friendly preparation game for the EURO championship at this level.
Newcastle's Hugo Viana and Luís Boa Morte of Fulham have both been released from the international squad preparing for Wednesday's friendly against Scotland because of a sprained knee and a thigh strain respectively. Mário Sérgio of Paços de Ferreira and Nuno Assis of Vitória de Guimarães have been called up to replace them. The Scottish squad arrived in Portugal on Sunday.
State TV channel RTP1 reported Saturday that Felipe Scolari is very close to reaching an agreement with the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) to become national team coach. Scolari himself said: "It's very interesting for me because Portugal is going to host EURO 2004 and it has a group of good players that I know very well ... On a scale of 0-10, the chances of us reaching an agreement are 8 ." Scolari is insisting on having with him his own assistant and fitness coach. He said that something will be decided by the end of the month. RTP suggested that his monthly salary would be £60,000. ( A Bola On-line)
Meanwhile, the FPF once again denied that any sponsors, namely Nike, have been involved in negotiations with Scolari, or have put any pressure on the FPF in this respect. Nike supplies the kits for the national teams.
The Portuguese Football Federation admitted Friday that it had met with Brazilian coach Felipe Scolari in Madrid Wednesday to discuss the possibility of the Brazilian becoming the next coach of the national team.
Brazilian coach Felipe Scolari said Wednesday that he had had no direct contact with the Portuguese Football Federation to discuss the vacant job of national team coach. Speaking in Porto Alegre (it was thought that he was already in Europe) to Brazilian newspaper Jornal da Tarde, he also said that he had received offers from two big European clubs, that he would not accept any job without his right-hand man Flávio Teixeira, and that he had voted for Figo as this year's FIFA Player of the Year.
Stand-in national coach Agostinho Oliveira named Thursday the squad for next week's friendly against Scotland in Braga. Players from FC Porto and Boavista have been left out because their UEFA Cup games Thursday 14/11 mean that their SuperLiga matches have been pushed back to Monday, allowing little time for players to recover for the friendly Wednesday.
Also absent, surprisingly, is João Pinto, who would be making his return to international duty after his suspension for an aggression on the referee in the South Korea v Portugal match in the World Cup. Oliveira said: "The doors are open for João Pinto as soon as he is fully fit." The player has been starting recent games for his club, Sporting.
The surprises presences are debutees Jorge Ribeiro (Varzim), Ricardo Rocha and Tiago (Benfica) and Pedro Mendes and Ricardo Silva (Vitória de Guimarães).
Goalkeepers: Quim (Sporting Braga), Nélson (Sporting)
Defenders: Fernando Couto (Lázio), Ricardo Rocha (Benfica), Rui Jorge (Sporting), Jorge Ribeiro (Varzim), Fernando Meira (Stuttgart), Ricardo Silva (Vitória de Guimarães
Midfielders: Rui Costa (AC Milan), Sérgio Conceição (Inter Milan), Hugo Viana (Newcastle), Neca (Belenenses), Luís Figo (Real Madrid), Tiago (Benfica), Marco Ferreira (Vitória de Setúbal), Pedro Mendes (Vitória de Guimarães)
Forwards: Pauleta (Bordeaux), Boa Morte (Fulham), Nuno Gomes (Benfica), Simão Sabrosa (Benfica)
England coach Seven-Goran Eriksson has denied that he is thinking of leaving the job to take on a project elsewhere. "I've heard various things about my wanting to go to Spain, Italy or Portugal, but I want to carry on with my work here," he said.
FPF president Gilberto Madaíl is to travel to Brazil next week to try to convince Luiz Felipe Scolari to take the post of coach of the Portuguese national team. Obstacles are the high salary that Scolari would demand and the fact that he apparently has a commitment to train a Brazilian club in 2003. If negotiations with Scolari fail, plan B is to try for his compatriot Carlos Alberto Parreira, who also won a World Cup with Brazil.
Meanwhile, Madaíl has gone to Madrid to negotiate an extension of the sponsorship deal with Nike, from 2004 to 2006. ( A Bola On-line)
The FPF denied Wedenesday that they had a deal with one of their sponsors (possibly Nike) to share the costs of contracting a foreign coach. The name most talked of in recent days has been the Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari. It is known that the salary he commands is well beyond the means of the FPF. (A Bola On-line)
The FPF 's decision to trawl for a trainer abroad has brought a bitter response from Vitória de Guimarães coach Augusto Ignácio: "In the future, a foreign president of the FPF could be chosen." He attacked the Association of Portuguese Coaches, which recently voted for Gilberto Madaíl in the FPF elections: "This helped to invalidate a debate on the state of Portuguese football - serves them right!" He went on to defend the quality of Portuguese coaches: "All the coaches of clubs in the SuperLiga, without exception, have it in them to be the coach of the national team."
Manuel José has released the FPF from any committment to him based on a verbal agreement that he would be the next national team coach, given that his position was becoming increasingly untenable. Gilberto Madaíl, FPF president, has now said that the new coach will definitely be foreign, going back on his earlier determination that he should be Portuguese. He said that a choice will be made and announced by the end of the month.
A Bola reported Monday that FPF president Gilberto Madaíl was planning to break the verbal agreement he had with Portuguese coach Manuel José to take over as national coach. Manuel José was not a popular choice with players or public when rumours of his possible appointment were rife a month or two ago.
A Bola suggests that former Brazilian coach Felipe Scolari, who led the Escrete to the World Cup title, has been approached to assume command of the Selecção. Another name mentioned was that of Sven-Goran Eriksson, whose position as England coach has become a little more fragile with the exit of Adam Crozier from the FA. Agostinho Oliveira, stand-in for three friendlies after the World Cup, is likely to be called upon again to take charge for the upcoming friendly against Scotland in Braga on November 20th.
FPF president Gilberto Madaíl said Tuesday that the name of the new national coach should be announced next Tuesday, November 5th.
Portugal maintain their 11th place (level with Italy) in the FIFA rankings published Wednesday. The top places are as follows:
6 England and Mexico
10 The USA
11 Italy and PORTUGAL
Due to president Gilberto Madaíl's prior committments, the new FPF administration will only be able to meet at the beginning of next week to discuss the selection of a new national coach. (A Bola On-line)
Portugal's fourth friendly after the World Cup will be against Scotland in Braga's Estádio 1º de Maio on November 20th at 21.00. Scotland are second in Group 5 of the qualifiers, with four points from two games.
Since the World Cup, Portugal have drawn 1-1 with England (a) and 1-1 with Tunisia (h) and beaten Sweden 3-2 (a). The Scotland game will be the first for the new coach, to be announced shortly.
Gilberto Madaíl was sworn in as president of the FPF Monday for a second term that will last until 2006. One of the things that he didn't do at the ceremony in the Casino of Figueira da Foz in the centre of the country was to name a new national coach to take over from Agostinho Oliveira who was in provisional charge for three games (a win and two draws). Gilberto Madaíl thanked Oliveira Monday for his efforts, the implication being that he would not be carrying on in the job
In a TV poll at the weekend, conducted by independent channel SIC, into who should be the next national team coach, Agostinho Oliveira got 70% of the popular vote. The other two candidates in the poll, Fernando Santos and Manuel José, got 20% and 10% respectively. In another poll by A Bola On-line (22,000 votes), 42% preferred Humberto Coelho, who has already had a spell as national coach, 27% went for Fernando Santos and only 10% chose Manuel José. 22% thought that another coach should get the job. Agostinho Oliveira was not specifically named in this poll.
Manuel José is the name many believe to be at the head of the FPF's list.
Portugal staged an impressive comeback Wednesday to beat Sweden 3-2 in Göteborg in what was the last game in charge for interim coach Agostinho Oliveira. (See Match Reports)
The FPF said Wednesday that their decision on who will be the new national coach will only be made public after October 21st, the date when the 'new' administration is sworn in.
Luís Figo has intimated that he is becoming impatient with what he sees as a lack of direction for the national team, suggesting in a press conference that he is prepared to give up playing for the Selecção: "I have my prestige, and if coming to the national team means losing it, I'd prefer not to come."
Captain Fernando Couto was also a little put out, but this time he was annoyed with the fans, who had whistled and booed in the 1-1 draw with Tunisia at the weekend: "The Portuguese public doesn't have much patience. We're in a transitional phase and they have to be patient with those in charge and those on the field."
He is definitely out of the reckoning for the friendly against Sweden Wednesday with a thigh problem. Agostinho Oliveira has announced his starting line-up:
Quim, Fernando Couto, Fernando Meira, Beto, Sérgio Conceição, Rui Jorge, Petit Hugo Viana, Capucho, Marco Ferreira and Romeu.
It's the first time that Romeu (Vitória de Guimarães) and Marco Ferreira (Vitória de Setúbal) will have started for their country.
The U-21s lost 2-4 in Turkey Tuesday in a qualifier for the U-21 European Championship. Tuncay and Kemal put Turkey two up within 20 minutes, but Tiago and Hélder Postiga equalised within the next 20. Two minutes after the break, however, Tuncay gave Turkey the lead again. Portugal might have taken advantage of the expulsion of Selçuk on the hour, but they didn't, and despite almost constant pressure towards the end of the game, Turkey extended their lead in added time when Sinan sent a poorly executed clearance by 'keeper Moreira back past him and in.
Group 7 looks like this:
1 Turkey 3 games/ 9 points
2 England 2/6
3 Portugal 2/3
4 Slovakia 2/0
5 Macedonia 3/0
Former Benfica, Sporting and Boavista coach Manuel José seems to be the man most likely to take over the reins of the Portuguese national team from interim coach Agostinho Oliveira. There are already reports that he wants Vítor Oliveira of Gil vicente and António Sousa of Beira-Mar to be his assistants. However, nothing has been officially confirmed as yet as elections for the president of the FPF have just taken place and it was expected that Gilberto Madaíl, re-elected, would let the dust settle beofre announcing his decision. Meanwhile, Agostinho Oliveira has travelled to Sweden for what is likely to be his last game in charge.
The Portuguese squad has arrived in Sweden ahead of their friendly in Göteborg Wednesday. Rain and a temperature of 3º C met them at the airport.
Luís Figo has a thigh strain and there is a question mark over him. For Sweden, Arsenal's Fredrik Ljungberg will not play against the Portuguese. The player, back after trouble with his hip, has been given leave of absence by coach Lars Lagerback.
Portugal failed to convince in their second test after the disastrous World Cup campaign when they could only repeat the recent result against England in Birmingham, drawing 1-1 at home to Tunisia at Belenenses' Restelo stadium on the outskirts of Lisbon.
Portugal got off to a great start with a goal on four minutes by Pauleta, taking advantage of a weak goal kick by Tunisian ´keeper Boumnijel to carry the ball on and slot it home. But the early lead did not bring much composure or lucidity to the Portuguese game, and a well organised Tunisian midfield and defence nearly always had a measure of the likes of Rui Costa, Figo and Sérgio Conceição. And before half-time, the North African side were level, the impressive Zitouni picking up a through ball and cutting through a permissive Portuguese defence to beat Ricardo.
The Boavista ´keeper was Portugal's saviour on several other occasions, and although the home side improved through the second half, especially with the entry of debutees Romeu, Neca and Marco Ferreira, by the end a draw was a fair result. But the Portuguese fans who almost filled the Restelo stadium weren't happy with the grey Portuguese display and there were whistles of protest heard more than once, proving that it may take a long time to heal the scars of bitterness left by the Korean debacle.
Coach Agostinho was also disappointed with the Portuguese performance: "I warned them that Tunisia were a quality side," he said. Tunisian technical director Youssef Zouaoui was, of course, a happy man: "Portugal are very strong offensively and we managed to block their strength."
Portugal lined up:
Ricardo; Paulo Ferreira, Fernando Meira, Fernando Couto and Nuno Valente; Costinha (Romeu, 68) and Petit (Neca, 80); Figo (Marco Ferreira, 68), Rui Costa (Vidigal, 68) and Sérgio Conceição (Capucho, 68); Pauleta.
Subs not used: Quim, Beto, Rui Jorge, Hugo Viana, Jorge Silva and Boa Morte
Gilberto Madaíl was re-elected FPF president Saturday, with no opposition. He said that the election was a riposte to all those that had spoken badly about the FPF and its president in recent times, especially following Portugal's poor showing in Korea. Asked about the identity of the new national coach, he said: "I can guarantee one thing - he'll be Portuguese."
Agostinho Oliveira named the team that will take the field against Tunisia at Belenenses' Restelo stadium on Saturday evening:
Ricardo; Paulo Ferreira, Fernando Meira, Fernando Couto and Nuno Valente; Costinha and Petit; Figo, Rui Costa and Sérgio Conceição; Pauleta.
Oliveira said that he will not be making wholesale changes at half time as he did against England (1-1) at the beginning of September.
Nuno Gomes will not take part in the friendly tomorrow and against Sweden next week. He has a torn thigh muscle and will be out for ten days, which means he may also miss the vital FC Porto v Benfica SuperLiga clash next weekend.
His place in the squad has been taken by Vitória de Guimarães striker Romeu, 28, top scorer in the SuperLiga with six goals. It is his first call-up.
Luís Figo criticised Friday the time it is taking to find a permanent replacement for former national coach António Oliveira, sacked ater Portugal's poor World Cup. "This is something thast should have been cleared up ages ago," he said, meanwhile praising the work done by interim coach Agostinho Oliveira, who might still get the nod from the Football Federation to become the fully-fledged coach.
Both Figo and Boa Morte have been declared fit to face Tunisia on Saturday. There had been doubts over the fitness of the two. Now all the players in the squad are fit for selection.
The Tunisian squad arrived in Lisbon Thursday ahead of their friendly with Portugal on Saturday. None of the Tunisian contingent gave any interviews; Roger Lemerre only becomes coach officially on Monday and said he would not give any statements until then.
Training began at the National Stadium Wednesday in preparation for the friendly next week with Tunisia. Simão Sabrosa is out injured, while Figo and Luís Boa Morte are restricted to light training while they recover from knocks.
Simão Sabrosa has been replaced in the squad by Marco Ferreira of Vitória de Setúbal, his first call-up. "It's the high point in my short career and one of the happiest days of my life," he said.
The former vice-president of the National Sports Institute, Manuel Brito, alleged in Friday's edition of the weekly newspaper O Independente that during the World Cup there were seven suspected cases of doping in the Portuguese squad, "one of which was later proved to be only a suspicion. We did have five suspected cases of nandrolone because they had over 0.5, and another, the famous Kenedy case." Kenedy of Marítimo was sent home from the Far East and is still under suspension pending a definitive decision on his case.
Later in the day, the The Portuguese Football Federation said that they will be taking legal action against Manuel Brito over the allegations. (A Bola On-line)
The forthcoming friendlies against Tunisia and Sweden will be will televised in Portugal by state TV channel RTP, who have cut a deal with the holder of the broadcasting rights, SportTV. The recent friendly against England was not shown in Portugal.
There were few surprises when Agostinho Oliviera announced the squad to meet Tunisia and Sweden in the forthcoming friendlies. Vítor Baía is out as he is suspended from his club and has not played for several games. He is replaced by Quim of Sporting Braga, who until recently has been suspended from football on doping charges. Benfica central defender João Manuel Pinto is replaced by midfielder Neca of Belenenses, his first call up.
The full squad:
Goalkeepers: Ricardo (Boavista), Quim (Sporting Braga)
Defenders: Fernando Couto (Lázio), Paulo Ferreira and Nuno Valente (FC Porto), Beto and Rui Jorge (Sporting), Fernando Meira (Stuttgart)
Midfielders: Sérgio Conceição (Inter Milan), Rui Costa (AC Milan), Vidigal (Napoli), Hugo Viana (Newcastle), Jorge Silva (Boavista), Costinha (FC Porto), Neca (Belenenses), Figo (Real Madrid), Petit (Benfica)
Forwards: Pauleta (Bordeaux), Capucho (FC Porto), Boa Morte (Fulham), Simão and Nuno Gomes (Benfica)
Provisional team coach Agostinho Oliveira will announce Thursday his squad to face Tunisia in Lisbon on October 12th and Sweden in Gothenborg on October 16th.
The referee for the Portugal v Tunisia friendly on October 12th will be the Belgian Paul Allaerts, with compatriots Rombout Hennissen and Erik Clerkx the linesemen.
The Portuguese Football Federation are to give away 11,500 tickets for the upcoming Portugal - Tunisia friendly to youngsters up to the age of 18. The game, the first on home soil for Portugal after the Korea fiasco, will be played on October 12th at Belenenses' Restelo stadium on the outskirts of Lisbon.
Portugal have dropped four places in the FIFA rankings, announced Wednesday. Before the World cup they were 7th, but the disastrous campaign in Korea can be blamed for the slide. The top countries are:
1. BRAZIL, 858 points
2. France, 774
3. Spain, 774
4. Germany, 770
5. Argentina, 760
6. Mexico, 730
7. Turkey, 721
8. USA, 720
9. England, 718
10. Italy, 717
11. PORTUGAL, 712
Portugal play Tunisia in a friendly on October 12th at 21.00. The game will be played at Belenenses' Restelo stadium on the outskirts of Lisbon.
Stand-in national team coach Agostinho Oliveira said Monday that he will not be prepared to share the job with anyone. FPF president Gilberto Madaíl is thought to be planning a coaching hierarchy that involves a manager (Oliveira) overseeing a coach (possibly former Boavista, Benfica and União de Leiria coach Manuel José). Oliveira said that if this was to be the system, then he would resign his post. (A Bola On-line)
Former national team coach António Oliveira and the Football Federation (FPF) will have to go to court to settle the rescission between the parties. After the team's disastrous campaign in the World Cup (knocked out at the group stage), the FPF rescinded with Oliveira, but the coach is now demanding that his contract be fully paid up.
Portugal drew with England 1-1 at Villa Park, Birmingham Saturday. Apart from a couple of purple patches, England dominated the first half and went in 1-0 up; on 39 minutes, Bowyer found some room on the right and centred for Smith to beat Meira to the ball and head home at Baía's near post. In the second half, it was a different story. Portugal came out with nine changes to the starting line-up and looked to have more ideas. Youngster Hugo Viana of Newcastle was controlling play where Rui Costa in the first half looked slightly lost. On 78 minutes, his corner from the right was met by the head of Costinha to make it 1-1.
Portugal lined up:
Vítor Baía (Ricardo), Beto (Costinha), Fernando Meira (Jorge Silva), Fernando Couto (João Manuel Pinto); Sérgio Conceição (Paulo Ferreira), Petit, Rui Jorge (Nuno Valente), Rui Costa (Hugo Viana), Figo (Capucho), Simão (Boa Morte), Pauleta (Nuno Gomes)
On the whole it was a very positive display by Portugal after the bitter failure of the Korean campaign. "We played well and fully justified the draw," said interim coach Agostinho Oliveira . The scorer of the goal, Costinha, said: "The recovery of the image lost in Korea will have to be from game to game." On why the game was not televised in Portugal, FPF president Gilberto Madaíl said: "This is the first time it's happened, and we're going to find out why."
Stand-in national coach Agostinho Oliveira announced Friday the starting line-up for the friendly with England Saturday (16.00 in Villa Park, Birmingham). It is the same as that reported by footballportugal 05/09:
Goalkeeper: Vítor Baía
Defenders: Beto, Fernando Meira, Fernando Couto
Midfielders: Sérgio Conceição, Rui Jorge; Petit, Rui Costa
Forwards: Figo, Simão and Pauleta.
The televising of the game in Portugal may be in jeopardy. Olivedesportos, the company that holds the broadcasting rights to Portugal's international games, has not yet been able to come to an agreement on a deal with its English counterparts.
Portugal play another friendly on September 20th in Braga (Northern Portugal). The game will be part of the celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the Braga Football Association. The opposition is not yet known. (infordesporto)
Luís Figo said Friday that interim coach Agostinho Oliveira should be allowed to continue as coach as he "knows the 'house', the players and has worked for years at the service of the national teams."
Portugal U-21s beat Macedonia 1-0 in the first qualifying game of Group 7, with qualification for the European Championships the objective. Helder Postiga converted a cross by Jorge Ribeiro on 66 minutes to give Portugal the precious three points, although coach Rui Caçador said "We expected to win by two or three goals."
Portugal lined up: Moreira, Santamaria (Mário Carlos), Ricardo Costa, Bruno Alves; Bosingwa, Ednilson, Tiago, Jorge Ribeiro, Cândido Costa (Makukula), Hélder Postiga (Bruno Aguiar), Ricardo Quaresma.
Portugal play again on October 15th in Turkey, who beat Slovakia 1-0 Friday with a penalty in the dying minutes.
The Portuguese squad leave for England Friday morning ahead of their friendly with England on Saturday. In training at the National Stadium Thursday, striker Nuno Gomes twisted his knee early on and had to be helped off the pitch. He is, however, expected to be fit for consideration. (infordesporto)
Midfielder/ forward Sérgio Conceição of Inter stressed that the game, although a friendly, was very important: "It's important to put in a good display and try to win so as to clean up the bad impression we left in the World Cup, because we know that things did not go well for us."
Provisional national coach Agostinho Oliveira took his first training session with the 'A' team Wednesday at the National Stadium near Lisbon. If this first session was anything to go by, he appears to be favouring a system of three central defenders (Fernando Couto, Beto and Fernando Meira) for the friendly against England in Birmingham Saturday. Sérgio Conceição and Rui Jorge should act as wing-backs, while Petit and Rui Costa operate in the middle. Up front the in-form Simão, Nuno Gomes or Pauleta and the inevitable Luís Figo. Vítor Baía appears to be favourite to wear the gloves.
Portugal's U-21s get their Group 7 qualifying games for the European Championship of that age-group under way Friday. They play Macedonia in Póvoa de Varzim, in the North of Portugal. Turkey and Slovakia are the other two countries in Portugal's group.
Benfica's João Manuel Pinto has been called up to the squad to play England at the weekend, replacing Jorge Andrade of Déportivo, injured at the weekend (and out for two months with a broken toe). Málaga's ex-Boavista defender Litos was first choice replacement, but he is also injured (pulled muscle). This is the second time that JMP has been called up, but he has never actually played for the first team. Benfica now have four representatives in the squad: JMP, Simão, Petit and Nuno Gomes.
Goalkeepers: David James (West Ham) and Paul Robinson (Leeds).
Defenders: Danny Mills (Leeds), Ashley Cole (Arsenal), Wayne Bridge (Southampton), Rio Ferdinand (Manahcester United), Gareth Southgate (Middlesbrough) and Jonathan Woodgate (Leeds United)
Midfielders: Nicky Butt (Manchester United), David Dunn (Blackburn), Trevor Sinclair (West Ham United), Danny Murphy (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Lee Bowyer (Liverpool) and Joe Cole (West Ham United)
Forwards: Michael Owen (Liverpool), Emily Heskey (Liverpool) and Alan Smith (Leeds United).
Lisbon mayor Pedro Santana Lopes has categorically denied that he is part of any list to run for office in the Federação Portuguese de Futebol (FPF), as reported in the broadsheet weekly Expresso and here (see below).
If Artur Jorge wins the presidency of the Football Federation, he may re-call Humberto Coelho to be national coach. Coelho took Portugal to the semi-finals of EURO 2000 and recently had a mixed spell as coach of the Morrocan national team. Others on Artur Jorge's candidacy list are: Santana Lopes (Mayor of Lisbon - Chairman of the General Assembly), Fernando Seara (Mayor of Sintra - Disciplinary Council) and Vítor Pereira (Former FIFA referee - Refereeing Council). Artur Jorge will run against the current president Gilberto Madaíl. (A Bola On-line)
Portugal will face Tunisia in a home friendly on October 12th. The venue is yet to be announced. Portugal are not involved in EURO 2004 qualifiers as it is the host of the competition and thus qualifies automatically. (A Bola On-line)
The squad was named Thursday to face England away in a friendly on September 7th. Stand-in coach Agostinho Oliveira has introduced three new faces from the squad that fared so badly in the World Cup: full-backs Nuno Valente and Paulo Ferreira of FC Porto and defensive midfielder Jorge Silva of Boavista. Players returning to the squad after absences in Korea are Costinha, Boa Morte, Vidigal, Simão Sabrosa nd Fernando Meira. Out are João Pinto (suspended) and Abel Xavier. FC Porto is the club most represented with five players. The full squad is:
FC Porto: Vítor Baía, Nuno Valente, Paulo Ferreira, Costinha and Capucho
Benfica: Nuno Gomes, Petit and Simão
Sporting: Rui Jorge and Beto
Boavista: Jorge Silva and Ricardo
Milan: Rui Costa
Inter: Sérgio Conceição
Lazio: Fernando Couto
Fulham: Boa Morte
Newcastle: Hugo Viana
Coruña: Jorge Andrade
Real Madrid: Figo
Stuttgart: Fernando Meira
Agostinho Oliveira also announced the squad for the opening European Championship qualifier at U-21 level against Macedonia on September 6th. FC Porto is once again the club most represented, this time with four players:
FC Porto: Hélder Postiga, Cândido Costa, Ricardo Costa and Vítor Silva
Benfica: Moreira, Ednilson, Tiago and Eduardo Simões
Sporting: Carlos Martins e Ricardo Quaresma
Alverca: Bruno Aguiar
Casa Pia: Beto
Farense: Bruno Alves
Paços Ferreira: Mário Sérgio
Rio Ave: Miguelito
Varzim: Jorge Ribeiro
Setúbal: Mário Carlos
Agostinho Oliveira, the provisional national team coach until a rplacement is found for António Oliveira, was at the FC Porto v Belenenses match Sunday to take notes for the upcoming international against England in Birmingham. The game on September 7th will be refereed by Norwegian Tom Henning Ovrebbo, it was announced Monday.
Meanwhile, Inter Milan midfielder Sérgio Conceição, one of the few players who came out of the World Cup fiasco with any kind of merit, told State TV channel RTP Sunday: "Actually, we all made mistakes, it wasn't just António Oliveira ... We gave importance to petty things which didn't matter. The most important thing was to play to win."
The U-21s beat IIB side Olivais e Moscavide 3-1 at the National Stadium Tuesday, in a friendly to prepare for next week's European Championship qualifier against Macedonia. Tiago, Lourenço and Bruno Aguiar got the goals.
The U-21s lined up:
Moreira; Ricardo Costa, Santamaria and Bruno Alves; Mário Sérgio, Tiago, Ednilson and Jorge Ribeiro; Cristiano Ronaldo, Hélder Postiga and Quaresma.
(Beto, Bruno Aguiar, Bruno Sousa, Mário Carlos, Hugo Luz, Joca, Manuel Vieira, Vítor Silva, Luís Lourenço, Miguelito, Bruno, Eduardo Simões, Carlos Martins, João Paulo and Bruno Tiago also played)
Football Federation president Gilberto Madaíl confirmed Wednesday that Agostinho Oliveira will take over the reins of the Selecção on a provisional basis for at least the upcoming friendlies against England and Sweden. Agostinho Oliveira was previously in charge of the U-21 team. The nomination of a permanent replacement for previous coach António Oliveira, removed from the post but not yet officially dismissed, will come after the elections for president of the Federation later in the year.
The Selecção has maintained its seventh place in the FIFA rankings, announced Wednesday. Brazil head the list:
1 Brazil 859 points
2 Argentina 781
3 Spain 775
3= France 772
5 Germany 764
6 Mexico 733
7 England 728
7= PORTUGAL 728
9 Italy 714
9= USA 714
FC Porto fan and TV pundit Pôncio Monteiro, who was believed to be a candidate for the presidency of the Federation, has ruled himself out of the race saying that he would not want to be president if the structure of the institution stays as it is. The elections for president are in October, and the name of the new national coach will only be announced after the elections. The squad for upcoming friendlies against England an Sweden will be chosen and coached by a member of the existing coaching team. (A Bola On-line)
Luís Figo, speaking in New York, said he was prepared to step down from the national team if it was believed that he was in any way responsible for the fiasco of Portugal's showing in Korea in the World Cup (see Quotes). (A Bola On-line)
FC Porto's captain and central defender Jorge Costa announced Saturday that he is finishing his international career, which started against Belgium on November 11th, 1992: "I'm abandoning the Selecção because I'm aware that my time has come. It was fantastic to play for Portugal - I reached 50 appearances at the World Cup - but I think the time is right to make way for younger players." He added that his decision is not connected with the controversies surrounding Portugal's participation at the World Cup: "I want to make it clear that this decision has nothing to do with those facts because even before leaving for the World Cup I was thinking about quitting. Now I'm going to dedicate myself entirely to FC Porto and my family." (FC Porto official website/ A Bola On-line)
Portugal will play England at Villa Park, Birmingham, on September 7th. It will be the first game for both sides after the World Cup, which was mediocre for England and disastrous for Portugal. The game is an important chance to re-group after the disappointment of Korea. Portugal will have no competitive qualifying games before EURO 2004 as they are hosts. The Portuguese Federation has yet to appoint a new coach to substitute António Oliveira.
Sports daily A Bola reported Saturday that former Boavista and Benfica coach Manuel José is to be the next National Team coach. The president of the Portuguese Football Federation Gilberto Madaíl said later that MJ was just one of the names on the list, and that an announcement of the Federation's choice will be made soon.
The Federação Portuguesa de Futebol is to organise a special match as a tribute to the four players who have recently said they no longer wish to be considered for national team duty: Paulo Sousa, Manuel Dimas, Pedro Barbosa and Paulo Bento . Details of the game are not yet known (A Bola)
Gilberto Madaíl, president of the Portuguese Football Federation was interviewed Wednesday by the special parliamentary commission to look into the problems of Portuguese football. He said that the next coach of the national team will be Portuguese and that his name will be announced soon. He also said that in the light of the disciplinary problems that happened at the World Cup, players would be asked to sign a 'commitment to honour' where they agree to abide by the rules of the national team. (See also EURO 2004 News)
Paulo Bentoannounced Monday that he will not play again for the national team. The Sporting midfielder, 33, featured in the squads for EURO 2000 and the last World Cup. He follows Paulo Sousa, Manuel Dimas and Pedro Barbosa who have all recently announced their retirement, Sousa and Dimas from all official football.
Weekly broadsheet Expresso reported Saturday that Manuel José may be the next Portuguese coach. Until recently he coached Al-Ahli of Egypt and in Portugal he has coached Boavista and Benfica, the former more successfully that the latter.
Pedro Barbosa announced Friday that he is to quit playing for the national team. The Sporting midfielder had his first outing for the Selecção in 1992 and since then has started in eight games, played in 22 and scored five goals. He told reporters that he wanted to devote all his time to Sporting now. Barbosa's announcement comes just a short time after Paulo Sousa and Manuel Dimas also hung up their boots, but in these cases the decisions covered all football.
A survey carried out for Radio Renascença and the weekly 'Expresso' has found that 53% agree with the sacking of António Oliveira, 27% don't. 62% want a Portuguese coach to replace him, 22% a foreign coach. If it's a Portuguese coach, 26% want Carlos Queiroz, who has just joined Manchester United. If it's a foreigner, 22% want Sporting's Romanian coach Laszlo Bölöni . (A Bola On-line)
Portugal have dropped to seventh place in the FIFA world rankings after their poor showing at the World Cup. Portugal were fifth going into the competition. ( A Bola On-line)
National team coach António Oliveira is to sue the former vice-president of the FPF António Boronha for a report the latter wrote about incidents during Portugal's World Cup campaign (See World Cup). He is also suing a former FPF director Carlos Godinho for providing confidential information to Boronha for his report. Oliveira's lawyer Moreira dos Santos said that his client was "indignant at the half-truths and untruths of the Boronha report" which were intended to "harm the personal and professional image of António Oliveira." ( Record On-line)
It was confirmed Tuesday that the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) have sent António Oliveira a fax suggesting terms for an amicable rescission of his contract as national team coach. (See Quotes)
A survey by website infordesporto (2,000 respondents as at 25/06) shows that 27% want a foreign coach to replace António Oliveira. 24% want Humberto Coelho to return and 20% want Boavista's Jaime Pacheco.
A new coach will be named by August. FPF president Gilberto Madaíl, who has the final word, has said that he prefers a Portuguese coach. (infordesporto)
António Oliveira is expected to be dismissed as national team coach this week, according to radio station Antenna 1. The decision rests with FPF president Gilberto Madaíl.
Ex-vice-president of the FPF, António Boronha, accused the President, Gilberto Madaíl Friday of a whitewash of the facts surrounding Portugal's passage through the World Cup. He also questioned António Oliveira's competence as national team coach. (See Quotes)
Vice-President of the FPF António Boronha resigned from the job Thursday. He left the emergency meeting of the FPF in Lisbon after just half-an-hour to confirm the fact and to throw some blame for Portugal's poor showing in the World Cup António Oliveira 's way: "What went wrong with the World Cup? Essentially, the homework wasn't done ... I'm not a hypocrite. I don't think António Oliveira is in any position to continue as national team coach."
Dutchman Guus Hiddink, currently coach of South Korea, the side that put Portugal out of the World Cup, has been named as a possible replacement for António Oliveira in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. The future of the Portuguese coach should be known Thursday after a meeting of the Football Federation in Lisbon to analyse where the World cup campaign went wrong. (infordesporto)
30,000 people have taken part in a survey run by A Bola On-line, asking if António Oliveira should be allowed to continue as the national team coach. 20% said yes, 80%, no. (A Bola On-line)
FPF President Gilberto Madaíl has confirmed that António Oliveira's contract as national team coach is up to and including the EURO 2004 championship, to be held in Portugal. "The contract covers, for the first time, two important events, the European and World Championships and two fundamental objectives: to qualify for the World Cup, already achieved, and to prepare a team capable of winning the European title in 2004 ... The FPF has never put obstacles in the way of coaches who want to leave, as happened with Humberto Coelho after EURO 2000 and recently with Jesualdo Ferreira (now Benfica coach), whose exit was extremely elegant." (infordesporto). The clarification comes after the pressure that has been put on the coach following the defeat by the USA at the World Cup.
Portugal put in another impressive display in the U-21 European Championship Wednesday, this time against England. Filipe Teixeira put the Portuguese in front on six minutes. The giant Makukula then extended the lead from the penalty spot. But three minutes from half-time, Alan Smith pulled one back for England. In the second half, Portugal could have scored more but only manged one, from Hugo Viana, the man who will be heading East to join up with the full Portuguese Squad to replace Daniel Kenedy, who was sent home after testing positive for a banned substance.
But the victory wasn't enough; Italy drew 0-0 with Switzerland, which menas that Portugal and England both go home early.
Portugal lost 0-2 to Switzerland in the U-21 European Championship in Zurich Monday, Cabanas (penalty) and Frei the scorers. Portugal will now need to win against England on Wednesday to have ay chance of going through to the next phase.
Portugal drew 1-1 with Italy in the U-21 European Championship in Basle Friday. The game was decided within a seven-minute period of the second half: on 49, FC Porto's Hélder Postiga clipped a shot in from the edge of the area; on 53, Benfica left-back Jorge Ribeiro was sent off for a second yellow card; and on 56, Bonazzoli equalised with a header from a corner but looked to have fouled central defender Faísca in the process. Portuguese coach Agostinho Oliveira will have been more pleased with the confident display than the result in a game that Portugal could have won.
óAntnio Oliveira has explained his criteria for choosing the squad to go to Korea. "I used three main criteria: the first, the versatility of the majority of the players who, with their talent and class, give us guarantees of success; then, I went for solidity, a necessary condition to form a strong and balanced midfield; finally, I chose players with characteristics to build counter attacks and continuous attacks, who thus fit in with our playing philosophy." ( A Bola)
Some of those who were not chosen were feeling a little bitter. Quim, Sporting Braga's goalkeeper, still embroiled in a nandrolone suspension, Said: "This is a moment of great sadness for me. How many games did Vítor Baía and Nélson play this season? There are players that unluckily were injured recently, and they're in the squad. The only difference is that I play for Sporting Braga ... some people haven't been straight with me. I'm fed up with football." Litos, central defender of Málaga and formerly of Boavista, said: "I don't even fancy commenting. It's incredible. Some things never change in Portuguese football." ( A Bola)
At the same time that António Oliveira named the squad for the World Cup, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF ) also launched the official song for the event. The song is in Portuguese, but a loose translation of the words goes something like this:
Woken by the sea
The dream of winning is born
Of travelling the world and discovering
A destiny without equal
We learn to feel
We help the National Team
(Chorus) Go Portugal - Go! Go! Go!
You're going to win - Olé! Olé! Olé!
Together we'll shout out loud
Go further to defend
The national flag
Shirt numbers were allocated to the players Tuesday. See below.
Portuguese national team coach António Oliveira named his 23-man World Cup squad Monday. There were few surprises: the absence of Sporting Braga ´keeper Quim was perhaps natural since he has been sidelined for some time after testing positive for nandrolone. Also out were Sporting's young heroes Ricardo Quaresma and Hugo Viana, both touted for a place but at the last minutes called up to junior squads for other competitions. Other players that have been present in recent squads and not called up this time are central defender Litos (Málaga), Fernando Meira (Stuttgart) and João Tomás (Real Bétis). Sá Pinto (Sporting), Simão Sabrosa (Benfica) and Luís Boa Morte (Fulham) are all out through injury. The biggest surprise was the entry into the squad of Kenedy of Marítimo, a left midfielder, after he had a very good season with the Madeiran side. Doubts remain over the fitness of Figo, Rui Costa and Paulo Sousa, but they are all included in the squad.
The squad looks like this:
Ricardo (Boavista) (16)
Vítor Baia (FC Porto) (1)
Nélson (Sporting) (15)
Abel Xavier (Liverpool) (3)
Frechaut (Boavista) (18)
Fernando Couto (Lázio) (5)
Jorge Costa (Charlton) (2)
Jorge Andrade (FC Porto) (13)
Beto (Sporting) (22)
Marco Caneira (Inter/ Benfica) (4)
Rui Jorge (Sporting) (23)
Petit (Boavista) (20)
Paulo Bento (Sporting) (17)
Paulo Sousa (Español) (6)
Rui Costa (Milan) (10)
Figo (Real Madrid) (7)
Sérgio Conceição (Inter Milan) (11)
Capucho (F. C. Porto) (19)
Pedro Barbosa (Sporting) (14)
Kenedy (Marítimo) (12)
João Vieira Pinto (Sporting) (8)
Pauleta (Bordeaux) (9)
Nuno Gomes (Fiorentina) (21)
Total number of players from each club:
Sporting (6), FC Porto (3), Boavista (3), and one player each from: Benfica, Marítimo, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Español, Fiorentina, Lázio, Bordeaux, Real Madrid, Español, Liverpool,
The national team will bid farewell to the Portuguese public on May 16th at Sporting's Alvalade stadium, prior to setting off for Macau to finalise preparations for the World Cup. (A Bola On-line)
Cable TV channel SportTV has secured the rights to transmission of the World Cup from the Kirch Group. The fee is unknown. Portugal's games will have to be transmitted on an open signal since they are classified as 'of public interest'. SporTV may do this themselves or that may sell the rights to those games to one of the Terrestrial channels. ( infordesporto)
A delegation from the Portuguese Football Federation is currently in Macau, formerly a Portuguese colony, to finalise preparations for the stay of the the Portuguese World Cup squad from May 18th - 30th, prior to transferring to Seul. (A Bola)
Portugal drew 1-1 with Brazil Wednesday in a preparation game for the World Cup. Brazil tried out all their stars (including a rehabilitated Ronaldo but minus Romário and Jardel) and Portugal were with Figo, without Rui Costa but keen to wipe the slate clean after the recent disastrous 1-4 home defeat to Finland. Sergio Conceição got Portugal's goal after 62 minutes, with Ronaldinho equalizing from the spot 15 minutes later. Both trainers will have come out of the game satisfied and clearer in their minds about ideal players for the Far East. (See Match Reports) (photo links - infordesporto)