world cup - 2006


Portugal finish fourth

Third-place Play-off (Stuttgart)


Portugal 1-3 Germany (Nuno Gomes 87)

Semi-final (Munich)


Portugal 0-1 France

Quarter-final (Nuremberg)


Portugal 0-0 England (aet, Portugal won 3-1 on penalties: Simão, Postiga, C. Ronaldo)

Last 16


Portugal 1-0 Holland (Maniche 23)

Group D (Portugal and Mexico go through)


Portugal 2-1 Mexico (Maniche 6, Simão 23 [pen])
Angola 1-1 Iran


Portugal 2-0 Iran (Deco 63, Cristiano Ronaldo 78 [pen])


Angola 0-0 Mexico


Portugal 1-0 Angola (Pauleta 4m)
Mexico 3-1 Iran













































Hundreds of people were waiting for the Selecção at Lisbon airport Sunday, and hundreds more lined the roads on the way to the the National Stadium, where around 10,000 were waiting. At one point, during a speech by coach Luíz Felipe Scolari, the crowd chanted "Fica, fica, fica!" ("Stay, stay, stay!"). Scolari told the crowd: "Thank you for your affection. We'd like to offer you more than you're getting at the moment. We know that we still owe you something. You're champions of affection, feelings and giving us what we want. Be proud of the fourth place and the players that you have, because they did everything in their power. They're going to grow in the future, and who know – on another occasion we can aspire to something more than fourth place … like second or first."


Portugal failed to equal the third place of Eusébio & co. in 1966 when they went down 1-3 to hosts Germany in the third-place play-off in Stuttgart Saturday. Portugal once again had most possession and territorial advantage, but were beaten by bad luck, bad defence and bad aim. Kehl and Klose came close early on, and Portugal had to wait 15 minutes for their first real chance, Pauleta shooting weakly at Kahn (excellent on the night) after being put through by Simão. Before half time, a Kehl chip was palmed over by Ricardo and a Podolski free-kick blocked by the Portuguese 'keeper, while at the other end, half chances for Deco and Simão went begging.

Portugal collapsed in the second half, helping Germany to three goals: on 55 minutes, Schweinsteiger sent a speculative shot goalwards, and its trajectory fooled Ricardo. Five minutes later, the same Schweinsteiger sent a free-kick goalwards, with Petit deflecting it past Ricardo. Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo had chances to peg a goal back, but on 77 minutes, that man Schweinsteiger was again allowed to stride towards the Portugal goal and unleash a drive that swung beyond Ricardo's left hand. Portugal had three chances to get a consolation: Nowotny headed against his own goalkeeper's legs on 81, a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick was saved by Kahn on 83, and at the third opportunity, sub Figo crossed from the right for another sub, Nuno Gomes, to dive and head in at the back post.

The Selecção's World Cup was over without even a third place to show for it, but they are generally seen in Portugal to have done the country proud.

The teams lined up:

Portugal: Ricardo, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Costa, Fernando Meira, Nuno Valente (Nuno Gomes 69), Costinha (Petit 46), Maniche, Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, Simão, Pauleta (Figo 76).

Germany: Oliver Kahn, Phillip Lahm, Nowotny, Metzelder, Jansen, Kehl, Schneider, Frings, Schweinsteiger (Hitzlsperger 79), Klose (Neuville 64), Podolski (Hanke 70).

Luís Figo has played his last game for the Selecção. The former World Player of the Year said: "This was my last game for the Selecção. I've just told my team-mates that I was going to leave the Selecção for good. I also told them that I'm proud to have been part of this team. I would like to thank publicly all the Portuguese for the support they've given me over the years. … I leave the Selecção at a moment when Portuguese football is to be congratulated for what it's achieved in recent years. When you leave something you've loved for 15 years, it's not easy .... but the most important thing is to leave with a clear conscience, knowing that I've done everything in my power to dignify my country and Portuguese football. The time has come to leave ... it had to come ... I feel very proud to have been a part of this magnificent Selecção … It's not the end of an era. All of the generations have been important. The previous one was also important for us to be able to be here in the World Cup … the most important thing about our performance here is that we know we did all we could to honour the name of Portugal. We did all we could; we couldn't finish in third, but the Portuguese should be proud of the Selecção."

Also saying goodbye is Pauleta, the all-time top scorer for the Selecção: "my time ahs come. I want to thank all the players that worked with me, the coaches, doctors and nurses, the president of the FPF, and especially all those who have helped my in the Selecção since I was 15. this is the saddest day in my sporting career. Representing the Selecção was the thing I most loved to do. But I leave with a clear conscience, because I did everything that was in my power to do."

Luiz Felipe Scolari still hasn't said if he will stay with the Selecção or not. After the game against Germany, Cristiano Ronaldo let slip that yesterday Scolari had said: "Whatever happens [against Germany], we'll see each other in September." Scolari himslef was more cagey: "I can't talk about my future. I have to wait until the president of the FPF returns on Tuesday or Wednesday, and fulfil my contract until 31 July. Then I'll decide … About the game, we didn't fail – it's just that the Germans were very efficient ... the team were good in the first half, and in the second we conceded two in a short space of time. We were playing our game, and when we conceded the goal, we took a deep breath … but then we conceded another … For us the ball didn't want to go in. … Germany have an excellent team, well managed. It was great to be here with Portugal. In the last three years we've grown a lot. We were runners-up in the European Championship, unbeaten in qualifying and up until the semis here. There's been a great evolution. ... The teams here have much more sophisticated defensive systems than in 2002. Today the thought is not to take risks. The teams that have got this far are very organised."

Cristiano Ronaldo said after the game that: "To tell you the truth, I don't think that I have the conditions to carry on working normally at Manchester United. … I think that within two or three days, my future will be decided. I'm calm, because my agent [Jorge Mendes] is dealing with it all. I think I'm going to leave. I've been saying for some time that what I want is to play in Spain, and I hope that it can happen. Real Madrid or Barcelona? Those are the clubs I want to play for. Let's wait and see ... There was no support from [Manchester United's] chairman or coach. They should have defended me. [in the Rooney affair]. I have no conditions and I don't want to carry on at the club. I didn't do anybody any harm, and I'm not to blame for what's happening. … The whistles? [during the Germany game] …I didn't take any notice of them. I have to do my job, which is easy because I'm in a group in which I feel like I have support. We lost this game, but what's important is that we had a good World Cup. The only negative thing was that we lost two great players, Figo and Pauleta. I want to thank them for taking me under their wings - I learned a lot from them."

England's Wayne Rooney, sent off in the game against Portugal, has been suspended by FIFA for two games and fined 5,000 Swiss francs … proof, if proof was needed, that he deserved the red card in the game for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho, and that the flak aimed at Cristiano Ronaldo for his alleged part in the sending off has been unjustified.


A doubt is looming over the possibility of Luíz Felipe Scolari staying as Portugal coach after the World Cup. "I've said more than 150 times that I like Portugal, where I feel very good. I have a marvellous group of players and I work with excellent people at the FPF, so there's no reason to leave. … It could be that there aren't the right conditions for me to stay, but from my conversations with the president of the FPF, there's a good chance that I will stay. … Of course the financial question is important. I like Portugal, but I've already lost money because I've received very attractive offers from clubs and national teams in the last three years. But then money's not everything in life, and I've already told the president that at the moment what I need is sun and beach. Portugal gives me that – only the Maldives would be better. … After Wednesday, I'll have the chance to talk with the president about all these questions, so then we'll see."

President of the FPF, Gilberto Madaíl, seemed surprised that there was any doubt as to Scolari's continuation: "I have no indication that Scolari wants to leave – quite the opposite. He's said more than once that he feels good in Portugal – all the conversations I've had with him point to that. … The Federation, and the great majority of Portuguese, would like Scolari to continue for two more years. There are details to be ironed out, of course, and with the World Cup going on, that hasn't been possible."

The President of the Republic, Ánibal Cavaco Silva, said Saturday that: "It's a shame to miss the Final because of a penalty ... I'll be in Stuttgart supporting the Selecção. I'm hopeful, because of what the players have done, that we can come third. … The Selecção deserves the applause of all Portuguese. I'm touched and a bit emotional because of all that our players have done."

The Selecção had a light training session in the Gottlieb-Daimler stadium Friday ahead of the third-place play-off against Germany Saturday evening.

The squad arrived in Stuttgart Friday afternoon, with around 200 fans waiting for them at the hotel. The aircraft bringing the squad to Stuttgart had to be diverted to Frankfurt because of the weather, and the rest of the trip was made by coach, arriving three hours behind schedule.

Luíz Felipe Scolari confirmed Friday that he will be making three or four changes to the side that lost to France in the semi-final. Out already are Miguel (injured) and Ricardo Carvalho (suspended), to be replaced by Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Costa, respectively. "As for the rest of the changes, I have to speak with the group first." Scolari praised the German team and the work done by his counterpart Klinnsman: "I like what Klinnsman ahs done with the German team. The changes he's introduced and the renovation of the group. The team has two or three players with a lot of technical ability, but they all work for the team. Today we can't just praise Ballack but a number of players that have helped the Germans to get to this level."

Deco was determined that Portugal should get third place: "For the fans, to equal the best position ever by a Portugal team [1966] and for our own sense of pride. … It's as difficult to get motivated as it is for the Germans. But we have our pride, and we want to win to be able to dedicate third place to all those who supported us and suffered at our defeat against France." About the semi-final, he said: "they scored and we didn't, that was the key to the game. Apart from that, it was very even, although we dominated longer and had more chances. But France scored, and that's football. Although we were behind, we were able to keep in the game and didn't lose control. But France closed the spaces down well, sat back, and we couldn't find a way through."

The squad will be touching down in Lisbon at 12.50 Sunday, after which they will go straight to the National Stadium to receive tributes from fans.

Four Portuguese players have been included in the ideal squad chosen by FIFA: Ricardo, Ricardo Carvalho, Maniche and Figo:

Goalkeepers (3): Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Jens Lehmann (Germany) and Ricardo (Portugal);

Defenders (7): Roberto Ayala (Argentina), John Terry (England), Lilian Thuram (France), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy) and Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal);

Midfielders (8): Zé Roberto (Brazil), Patrick Vieira (France), Zinedine Zidane (France), Michael Ballack (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Gennaro Gattuso (Italy), Luís Figo (Portugal) and Maniche (Portugal);

Forwards (5): Hernán Crespo (Argentina), Thierry Henry (France), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Francesco Totti (Italy) and Luca Toni (Italy).

Fourteen FIFA 'specialists' chose the German player Lukas Podolski, 21, as the best young player of the tournament, ahead of the Argentinian Lionel Messi, the Swiss Tranquillo Barnetta, the Spanish Cesc Fabregas, the Equatorian Luis Valencia and … the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo. Valencia, Ronaldo and Messi entered the shortlist by votes on the Internet, while the other players were chosen by the FIFA Technical Study Group.


Portugal's dream is over (see match report). They battled on equal terms with France in the semi-final in Munich Wednesday, but a Zidane penalty on 33 minutes was enough (as it was six years ago in the semi-final of Euro 2000) to take France through to the Final against Italy in Berlin Sunday. Portugal will have to pick themselves up and try to generate enough motivation after this disappointment to claim third place against Germany in Stuttgart Saturday, thus equalling the feat of Eusébio's Magriços in 1966.

Out of Saturday's game will be Ricardo Carvalho, who received a second yellow, and Miguel, who suffered knee ligament damage and will be out for several weeks.

It was Portugal's first defeat in official games since 4 July 2004, when they lost 1-0 to Greece in the Final of Euro 2004. It was their first defeat in any game in 19; they lost to Ireland in a friendly in February 2005. It was coach Scolari's first defeat in 13 games in two consecutive World Cups.

What they said:


"If there are reasons for South America to feel ashamed, it's because of refereeing like this. We tried everything but we couldn't win. Portugal is an ugly duckling in this world of football, and we knew that. My future? Nothing's defined yet. I'm going to think about it and then speak to the FPF president. It's not the right time to talk about that situation yet."

Later, in the press conference, he said: "I don't want to talk about the refereeing. I think he's an excellent referee and knows exactly what he wants. France weren't any better than us. It was all very even, and the penalty, which existed, decided everything. We're a very small country, and it was very difficult to get this far. There were few chances, and the normal result would have been draw and the consequent extra-time or penalties. We have to let this melancholy pass, this dream that's evaporated, and as from tomorrow rebuild this group and get third place, which in a World Cup is very important. On Saturday we may have some difficulties, because we have one day less of rest. I'll get over my frustration in the next four or five hours ... Tomorrow I have to be ready to prepare the next game. What we've done is excellent – now we want to finish third." The French coach Raymond Domenech had said that he experienced more problems against Portugal than against Brazil, but Scolari wasn't having any of it: "It's no consolation. It would be if he hadn't spoken so absurdly about our country and players before the game. He said ugly things, which I can't repeat. ... If Italy aren't careful, France can make their lives hard. But Italy are strong – even off the pitch ..."

Ricardo (who let in the penalty):

"Unfortunately, I couldn't grab hold of the penalty. We did everything for it to be different, but I think we played our hearts out and we leave here with heads held high. The sadness we feel today doesn't affect the pride we feel in being here and playing for the Selecção Nacional and being Portuguese. It's frustrating to think that we could have gone further – things could have been a little different. This team played with brio and great dignity. We don't want to use the referee, but you could see that there weren't equal criteria. For games like this that are so even, which are decided by small details, the referee committed many mistakes. That's football."

Ricardo Carvalho (who fouled Henry for the penalty):

"We could have played better, but even so, we deserved more than this. The penalty was a mistake by me, but it was one of those situations where might not have given it. Basically we were unlucky, but now we can't do anything about it.


"It's destiny – unfortunately it's like that – at this moment we're all disappointed, sad about this result, but at the same time proud to belong to this group. We did everything in our power to get to he Final. When you give everything, you can't ask for more. We weren't inferior to France in general, but we couldn't score. The referee was intelligent: he didn't show France any cards, so that they could play in the Final, he gave a penalty against us and didn't give one in our favour."


"It was a very even game in the first half, but in the second we attacked a lot and could at least have drawn level. It's very hard not going to the Final, but we're very proud of what we've done in this tournament."


Portugal will play Germany on Saturday for third place, or Italy in the Final on Sunday. The result of the other semi-final Tuesday was 2-0 to Italy, both goals coming in the dying minutes of extra time.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Figo trained once again without touching the ball Tuesday in the last training session before Wednesday's semi-final with France in the Allianz Arena, in Munich . Scolari has said that the two are in doubt, but said that it is more likely that Cristiano Ronaldo will play.

Scolari highlighted the historical disadvantage that Portugal have in relation to France: "… but there's always a chance we can change history. For everything they've done, the titles they've won and for their past victories over Portugal, France are favourites. But favourites don't always win – so we have a chance to change history… Portugal have played some good games, they've overcome difficulties and they're going to look for inspiration to obtain a positive result and change history." Tuesday's edition of France Soir – wherein some of Portugal's players were described as 'savage' and 'villains' – deserved disdain from Scolari: "Those are word games – let's talk about football and let's not take any notice of that stuff." About France, the Brazilian considered that the are "The worst opponent that we could meet ... They're highly organised, with players of a very high calibre, very tall and with very interesting synchronised movements. What Paulo Sousa [observer] told us left us a little concerned – so it will be a difficult game – maybe even more difficult than the Final."

Portugal's ambassador to France António Monteiro is to formally complain to the French Government over references to the Portuguese squad in the newspaper France Soir. "Costinha acts like a villain"; "Petit makes up for the lack of skill with brutality"; and "Deco is a savage, without any fair-play" were just some of the comments in the newspaper.

Horácio Elizondo, the Argentinian referee of the England versus Portugal quarter-final has said that he sticks by his decision to send off Wayne Rooney: "It was dangerous play, and that's why I showed the card. People can say what they like, but I wasn't influenced by anyone [allegedly Cristiano Ronaldo] because normally I don't take notice of that kind of pressure during a game. So I had no doubt that it was a red card, and I didn't react according to the Portuguese players. ... In general, I'm satisfied with the spirit of fair play that there was in the game. ... Sven-Goran Eriksson came into my changing room after the game and congratulated me, saying that I was right to send Rooney off."

The president of FIFA, Joseph Blatter, said Tuesday that he regretted the "yellow card" he showed to referee Valentin Ivanov, who produced 16 yellow cards and four red in the last 16 game between Holland and Portugal. "I'm sorry about what happened and the statement that I made about his performance. The players deserved the yellow cards they got, and the teams deserved the yellow I gave Ivanov," he said. The Russian was removed from the group of referees to officiate at further games in the tournament. It was the most undisciplined game in World Cup history.


Cristiano Ronaldo and Luís Figo trained separately from the rest of the squad Monday in the last training session at Marienfeld, where the squad has been for the best part of a month. Portugal leave for Munich Tuesday morning, where they will stay until Friday. Then they go to Berlin (they hope) or Stuttgart for the third-place play-off.

Uruguayan Jorge Larrionda will referee the game against France. He was also the official for Portugal's opener against Angola.

Two Portuguese fans, a man of 37 and a woman of 46, were shot in the French region of Cap d´Ail, in the south-east of France. The man who shot them, a postal worker of 58 suffering from psychological problems, apparently acted because they were making too much noise celebrating Portugal's win over England on Saturday. He was killed by Police. The male victim is in a critical state in hospital.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been trying to put out the flames around his relationship with Wayne Rooney, which the English tabloids have been stoking up: "Rooney even congratulated me on our going through." Cristiano Ronaldo has been accused of getting Rooney sent off , and the tabloids have suggested that Rooney will sort Ronaldo out once they are both back at Manchester United ... although some papers suggest that Manchester United will be offloading the Portuguese star before that happens. On the site of Ronaldo's promotional company, Gestifute, he explained: "We've even exchanged SMS messages – just to show that I have a great relationship with Rooney. Terrible things were said about me and my [Manchester United] team-mate and friend Rooney. How is it possible to say that it was me that helped get him sent off? I'm not a referee to be able to send off anyone, nor, morally, would I convince the ref to show cards. The referee showed him the red card because he thought he should, and I had absolutely no part in it. I'd also like to say that between myself and Rooney, there's no problem whatsoever. I insist: no problem. After the game, we exchanged a series of SMS messages, and yesterday too. That's to say that I have a great relationship with Rooney. Everything's cleared up between us. In fact, not only did he congratulate me for going through, but he also told me that we have a great team, and for us to continue like that because we'll go far. He wasn't angry with me, or anywhere near it. What's more, he told me to ignore what was written in the English press about this, that they only want to cause trouble. It's the usual thing. We're both used to it. That's why there were statements as if they came from him saying that he didn't want to play with me again at Manchester United. He doesn't want to!? Of course he does! That's absolutely false, as he himself told me. There you go – typical of English newspapers, but we're both used to it. What can you do? I can guarantee that I'm not going to lose sleep over it."

Full back Miguel was confident about Wednesday's game against France: "Without losing humility, I believe that we're going to win. Really – we're going to get through. We're aware of our worth and we have all the conditions to overcome France. We're prepared for a very complicated game on Wednesday. We have a lot of respect, but we're going there to win. … France's weak points are their flanks. In the middle they have Patrick Vieira and Makelele, and the central defenders Thuram and Gallas are very strong, too. I think we should exploit the flanks."

Hélder Postiga said that fatigue wasn't a factor: "The motivation of being in a semi-final overcomes everything, even tiredness. We're extremely happy and proud, but if we lose and dignify the colours, we have to be pleased with what we've done. The group has to be congratulated because we're among the top four in the world. France are powerful as a whole, not just their attack – they have one of the tightest defences. I hope that history takes a new turn and we can get through to the Final."


Portugal are through to the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since Eusébio's Magriços in 1966. The quarter-final against England finished a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes, and it went to penalties, Ricardo the hero once again, repeating his feat at Euro 2004 where Portugal beat England, also in the semi-finals.

It was an even game, with few chances. Portugal had most possession, especially after England striker Wayne Rooney was sent off after 61 minutes for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho right under the referee's nose. England produced a flurry of activity at the end of normal time that brought them close to scoring on several occasions, but it was to be Ricardo's trusty hands that would give Portugal a chance to make history if they beat France, who put out Brazil, on Wednesday.

The penalties went like this:

1. Portugal's Simão scored. 1-0
2. England's Lampard missed. 1-0
3. Hugo Viana missed. 1-0
4. Hargreaves scored. 1-1
5. Petit ,issed. 1-1
6. Gerrard missed. 1-1
7. Postiga scored. 2-1
8. Carragher missed. 3-1
9. Cristiano Ronaldo scored. 3-1

Portugal's record against France, who they play in the second semi-final Wednesday, is not good. In the semi-final of the European Championship in 1984, it went 3-2 France's way, after extra time. In the European Championship of 2000, Portugal got to the semis again but were beaten by France 2-1 after extra time, thanks to a Zidane penalty after a handball by Abel Xavier. Of the 21 games between the two sides, Portugal have won five, drawn one and lost 15.

What they said:

Portuguese hero Ricardo spoke about the penalty shoot-out, in which he saved three of England's penalties, a World Cup record. "There's always a bit of luck, but there's also daily work so that those taking the penalties don't fool us. The secret we have was perfected and it worked. They're all to be congratulated – the other goalkeepers in the squad and Brassard [goalkeeper trainer] who helped me a lot. … The goal was shrinking for the English players, and I had to just prolong that suffering. Luckily, I managed it. However much knowledge we may have on the way they take penalties, it's that moment that counts." On the conversation he had with Scolari before the penalty shoot-out, Ricardo said "It was the same as at Euro 2004 [versus England]. He knew that if there was a place for me, I was willing to take a penalty. I would take the sixth if it wasn't decided by the fifth. Luckily it wasn't necessary."

Luíz Felipe Scolari:

"Now the important thing is to recover from the injuries to players like Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, and prepare these players for what's to come so that we can get to the Final. We're among the four best teams in the world. ... If I'd had to choose, Ricardo would have been the man of the match. He's evolved a lot over the last two years with penalties. Merit also to Brassard, a great goalkeeping coach. ... Penalties are a lottery. I didn't think we could win. It was an electrifying game – marvellous. It's more difficult to get to the semi-final with Portugal than to be Champion with Brazil. … We want to think one step at a time ... although the next step could take us to the Final. I just want my players to keep up this spirit.

Luís Figo:

"I'm proud to belong to this group and be a part of the Selecção. I'd like to be with the Portuguese to celebrate this feat, but I hope they take the opportunity and party like mad because we're going to continue our work and make them proud of us. The Portuguese deserve the happiness that they've had with the Selecção … "It was a very tactical game, with the teams having similar systems, and there weren't many chances to score. We played an intelligent game – the two sides knew each other pretty well, and for us it was very important to play with an extra man. It was very tiring, what with the heat and the humidity. For the penalties, we had a great goalkeeper and we were luckier than them once again. … It's an historic landmark for Portuguese football, and although there's still a semi-final to play, it's obvious that we intend to win the Cup. … We can't say what would have happened if we'd played against 11, but of course it's more complicated when a team has to play with one man less. It happened to us in the last game [against Holland] and it was very hard, but I think the difference was in the penalties, where we were luckier than England. … The atmosphere is good and in the last two years we've improved in a lot of ways, because the coach believes in us and makes us believe."

Cristiano Ronaldo:

"At the moment of the penalty, I had a lot of adrenalin running through me – I felt a little nervous, but it was another beautiful moment in my career. I think I showed maturity, calm, lucidity, I concentrated and managed to take a good penalty ... I was confident. I smiled beforehand because I knew that I was going to score. I shot hard and it was a goal. It's never easy – it's a lot of pressure on my shoulders, but I'm used to it. I'm used to taking responsibility for what I do, and it will always be like that. This victory has a special flavour because I've been playing in England for three years – I had team-mates on the pitch, and it was very emotional when I scored. I dedicate the goal to the people who like me. … The players are very happy – it was a great battle, but justice was done. Portugal were better during the game. Now we're two games from the Final, four days from the semi-final, but the players are concentrating. Everything's possible from now on. ... In the first half, I felt good, but in the second my leg started swelling up, I couldn't do those bursts. I'll recover. I was a week without playing, and as you can imagine, it was difficult to get through 120 minutes. I felt good especially in the first half, but in the second, in the last 30 minutes, my leg felt heavy with the accumulation of blood. Now we've got four days, and I hope to be 100% for the semi-final. I wasn't bad against Angola, I was good against Iran, and I played well today, despite some difficulties. Maybe you didn't see Ronaldo going past two or three players, but I did my bit. Things have gone well, and in general we're to be congratulated. … It's not true that the referee only gave Rooney a red card because I asked for it. I only asked if it wasn't a foul, and he gave the red card. I just said 'foul'. The English press says that Rooney was sent off because I asked for it, but it's not true.

Fernando Meira:

"As time goes by, things are getting better [his partnership with Ricardo Carvalho]. There are always details to fine tune, and we've been doing that game to game. I hope we can do just as good a job in the semi-final. Both Peter Crouch and Rooney were very well handled. England had some chances, which is natural because they have one of the best teams in the world, but in general we controlled their forwards well. … You can never say that we go into a shoot-out at an advantage – it's one of those situations where anything can happen. Only today we had Ricardo in form – it was he that gave us this victory – he was unstoppable and showed that he's one of the best in the world. He was inspired and had a lot of confidence, and all the group tried to transmit positive energy to him and the players who were taking the kicks. At those times you can only trust in yourselves and hope that the gods are with you. … Portugal is a small country with a very big heart, and this team reflects that in the way it plays. We've reached our objectives. From the moment we got past the quarter-finals, anything can happen, with a bit of luck. But we have to keep or feet on the ground, be realistic and understand that all the teams that are left are great selecções. But on Wednesday, we'll have the group at 100% with the returns of Deco and Costinha, and we'll have something to say in the fight for a place in the Final.

Hélder Postiga:

Hélder Postiga took one of the penalties in the shot-out, and explained why he didn't repeat what he did at Euro 2004, where he chipped the 'keeper from the spot: "When you walk up to the spot, it's essential that you have confidence, and I felt confident. Apparently, Paul Robinson, thought I was going to do the same thing as two years ago, but that never crossed my mind. Once it was funny – it wouldn't have been the second time. … they closed everything down around the area, and both in the air and on the floor, we had no space to enter the area. Apart from that, it was very hot; I prefer to play in stadiums where the air circulates better. … As for Deco and Costinha, it's normal that the team misses such great, influential players, but the whole team was good and compensated for their absences. I feel immense happiness and a lot of pride that this fantastic group has got through to the semi-finals. Whoever sits on the bench always has faith that he can come on and help his team-mates. The message has worked, and the players have worked very well."

Simão Sabrosa:

Simão came on as sub and scored one of the penalties. "It was very difficult, very combative from beginning to end – I think the teams actually respected each other too much. When we were one man up, we tried to attack down the flanks, to cause them problems with crosses, but they had a lot of players back and it was very complicated. We believed that it would be possible to resolve the game before penalties, but we couldn't because they played directly to their forward and didn't come out – they didn't let us play counter attacks. Afterwards, in the penalties, the team with the most luck wins, and fortunately luck was with us. Luck is very important – the moments around the taking of penalties are very complicated. In fact, some players who missed today take good penalties and normally score. That's why it's essential to keep calm. That's what I tried to do when it was my turn – I took that deep breath that lets you release all the anxiety before you shoot. … If Portugal are candidates for the title? Only now!? We have to keep thinking one game at a time. But there's no doubt that dreaming is good for anyone."

Hugo Viana:

Hugo Viana came on as sub, played well but missed a penalty. "I hadn't played since the Angola game, but I was always prepared to come on and help. Luckily it happened in an historic game for us. The mentality of this team makes it so that both those who are on the pitch and those off it have an important role to play. I came on confident – I had instructions to try the long shot, which is what I did. I came on when we were a man up – there was myself, Maniche and Petit for two of them, and it became a little easier to pass the ball around, but not when we had to enter the area. That's why we tried a lot of times to get to the line and cross, but they were very good in the air and we didn't create many chances. … we always believe we can do it, but when you look at the giant screen and see the clock at 115 or 117 minutes, you start to think that it's going to penalties. But sincerely, we couldn't take any more risks than we did –we risked everything we could. … About my penalty, the goalkeeper gave me that side, and I tried to put the ball as far away from him as possible. It could have been a little better. That's how I take penalties in training, but really, what counts are those you score in the game. Luckily t all ended well. ... Scolari is a great coach – he keeps the group together, and we want to keep him in the Selecção as long as possible.


"I feel a sensation of great happiness, not only for this group but also for the Portuguese people and those who came to the stadium to support us – few but good. We're in the semi-final on merit. We're going to continue to dream and do everything to get to the Final. It was 120 very complicated minutes. It's very complicated to play in this stadium because it's very close and it's difficult to breathe. … We tried to score, but it wasn't possible. England were very good – with one player less, they managed to counter attack and caused us a lot of difficulties. We always believed we could do it … Losing on penalties crossed our minds, especially when Petit missed. If England had scored at that moment they would have been ahead – but luckily they missed and from then on it returned to normal. … I believe we can get to the Final. Wednesday will be complicated, but we can get to the Final because luck is with us."

Speaking to TV channel SIC, José Mourinho highlighted the pragmatism of the final result, but wasn't pleased with Portugal's performance. "Portugal played a long time against 10 and could have done better – and it would have saved everybody a lot of suffering. But the most important thing, and what is pragmatic, is that Portugal are in the semi-finals. ... When we were one man up, there was too much precipitation. When you're one man up, spaces are created naturally. Sometimes you should even exaggerate possession. You shouldn't try dribbling people, or long shots. You have to do the opposite – pass the ball until a space opens up. One thing is to play against ten for five minutes, another for an hour. Portugal rushed at it – they didn't play well. They could have done better ... but only if you're there can you tell ... there's a lot of emotional tension, and the emotions overcome tactical reasoning, and it's not easy. ... The English defended as a block, they defended as they wanted to, and they dominated the aerial game. Portugal didn't lose because Crouch doesn't frighten anyone a long way from the goal, and because Ricardo Carvalho and Fernando Meira were very good. It's not worth talking much about Ricardo, but Fernando Meira showed that he's grown a lot after the doubts that there were following the injury to Jorge Andrade. The centre-backs are plying very well, but so are Miguel and Nuno Valente. Miguel is getting better and better at defending, dominating players like Joe Cole ... Nuno Valente had problems with Lennon, who's very fast, a handful, but his positioning was good. Ricardo was also very good. He came out well, punched well, and the defence was very solid.

Mourinho said that Luiz Felipe Scolari should continue as Portugal coach. "There aren't many Portuguese coaches, or even foreign ones, who aren't at clubs and could coach this Selecção. There's every reason why Scolari should continue, and I'd like it very much if he did." Figo and Costinha have said that Portugal would be taking many steps back if Scolari went, but Mourinho doesn't fully agree: "I wouldn't say many steps back, because Portuguese football has managed a lot without him, and not only at club level. We got to the Semi-finals of Euro 2000, for instance. But I recognise that he's a great national coach. He chooses a group and works with it. The Selecção is heart, objectives, belief. He manages to do important things. What makes Ricardo better in the Selecção than at club level is the empathy between him and the coach. He's been criticised – it's well known that he's not my favourite goalkeeper – but his relationship with Scolari is fantastic. His place has never been in question, and that's been great. And he's got a thing about penalties ... When the opponent chooses the best penalty taker [Frank Lampard] to take the first one and the goalkeeper saves it (which hasn't happened in the last two years), it's a kick to England's self-confidence. You saw Gerrard look up to the heavens saying that's it."


Portugal face England today hoping to emulate the 1966 team that got to the semi-finals. Portugal are without Deco and Costinha, suspended, and are likely to line up as follows: Ricardo, Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho, Fernando Meira, Nuno Valente, Petit, Maniche, Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Simão, Pauleta.

Luiz Felipe Scolari said that he does not know if he can use Cristiano Ronaldo or not: "If you look at my face, you can see that I'm worried because I don't know if I can count on the youngster. Only tomorrow will I be sure." About the absence of Deco and Costinha through suspension, he said: "I'm sure that those who replace Deco and Costinha will be just as good as them." He said also that he cannot ask any more of his players: "They've done what they had to do. They're among the top eight countries in the world." About the game with England, he had this to say: "We're not expecting a violent match, but a hot, vibrant, well-fought game. The Portuguese side is one of the most disciplined at the World Cup, in terms of cards shown. The match against Holland was not so bad – it wasn't as violent as the press made out." Scolari also addressed the issue of coaching England "… but only after the decision to be made between myself and the president of the FPF is made known. After 31 July, and without committing myself to any other club or country, I can talk with the FA."

Luís Figo has made it very clear that any pressure from the English press has passed the Selecção Nacional by: "We have always been and always will be very united. It's not statements or fabricated news that make this group stronger. We're here to play, not to speak, which is easy to do in football. If we're in the quarter-finals it's because we worked for that and deserve it. We didn't get help from anyone – it's all down to our efforts. We're going to respect the opponent, as we always do, but we're going to try to win the game on Saturday. We're doing our normal routine. We have to concentrate on working well, resting when we have to rest, and being prepared for Saturday. … The best referees in the world are here, and I don't think it's their intention to prejudice anyone. They also want to referee the best games. Portugal is a normal team. The last game against Holland was atypical. ... We can't think of being World Champions if we don't beat England. Of the eight teams left, Portugal has the least experience in big competitions, which is important. We have to fight against that and change those statistics. … Each game could be my last. I'm not eternal. ... We've done fantastically and expectations are being fulfilled. We should be very proud to be among the top eight in the world, and that allows us to think of other objectives that at the beginning a lot of people thought weren't possible. … Scolari is an extremely important person for the Selecção Nacional, for everything he's done for Portugal. We're lucky to be able to continue to work with him. … "I think we're still making history. Nothing will wipe out what the Selecção of 1966 managed to do. They're two different times. We're proud of our history, and we're trying to improve the Portuguese football's present time."

José Mourinho, who will be commenting on the game for TV channel SIC, said: "It will be a game with few goals, between two solid and compact teams. It will therefore be a very even game with a close result. … Portugal showed against Holland that they know when to press up front, when to move back. It's just a shame that Costinha and Deco can't play."


Cristiano Ronaldo was back in training with the rest of the group Wednesday, in which both Figo and Tiago were tested in the Deco playmaking role. Deco will miss the game through suspension.

The press secretary, Afonso de Melo, has criticised the Russian referee of the match against Holland for comments he made in the Russian newspaper Izvestia. Ivanov said that he was expecting "dirty tricks from the Portuguese, well known for their time-wasting and tackles from behind." The same de Melo denied that striker Pauleta had made any statements to the British tabloid 'The Sun'. The newspaper had said that Pauleta considered England goalkeeper to be their weak link.

Pauleta was at the press conference Wednesday. Asked by a British journalist if Portugal were more frightened of the English press, players or fans, he said: "If you know a bit about Portuguese history, you'll see that Portugal is frightened of no one. We're simply a country that respects everybody and that ony wants to be respected. We, the Portuguese, don't accept it if we're not shown respect or if they invent false information about our players or about our country ... We all know that football isn't only played on the pitch. We know about the pressure of the English press and some English officials, and even some people from the Brazilian cap are starting to put pressure on with a view to a possible semi-final [against Portugal]. Unfortunately, football works like that, but we have to just concentrate on our work, on our team, and know that we'll have to be at our best in this game. We've already seen that w hve a lot of people against us, and as soon as Portugal start appearing and doing good things, certain situations immediately crop up to destabilise the group … Our team is stronger at the moment, but the English are also strong, because they have great players in all positions. I don't think they're playing badly – they've won all their games and haven't conceded goals. It's going to be a close game, decided on details." Asked whether he intends to continue to play for the Selecção after the World cup, he said: "That's a decision I'll announce after the World Cup. At this moment, I don't want to talk about it – I just want to concentrate on the Selecção."

Wayne Rooney said that England were very wary of Cristiano Ronaldo, if he plays: "Although I want him to recover, it would be good if he missed the game against us because he's a fantastic player. If he plays, he's going to give us a lot of work. I've played with him every week for the last three years and I know that it's difficult for any team to stop him. If he plays on Saturday, I hope we can keep him quiet."

England coach Sven Goran Eriksson defended Portuguese football against criticism from certain elements of the English media: "I know a lot of their players, they have quality and they make up a good team. Portugal is a fantastic footballing nation. I worked there for five years and I know that they're absolutely fair."

The Dutch Federation have sent a message their Portuguese counterparts congratulating them on their qualification for the quarter-finals and admitting that "the best team won" Sunday's game.

Portugal's game against England on Saturday will be reffed by an Argentinian: Horácio Elizondo.


Cristiano Ronaldo and Luís Boa Morte were both absent from training Tuesday, the former still nursing a thigh injury, the latter excused to visit his wife and new-born baby daughter.

Portugal will not train at the Gelsenkirchen stadium ahead of Saturday's quarter-final with England as they already know the pitch from the 2-1 victory over Mexico in Group D. Final training will take place in Portugal's training camp at Marienfeld.

Deco, suspended for England, was one of the players at the daily press conference:

"Scolari is a great coach and he's had a fantastic career. He's won wherever he's gone. He's done a great job within the Selecção. He's a man with a strong character, a friend to the players and always ready to help them. The secret of his success is the atmosphere he manages to create, and the one we have in the Selecção is fantastic." Deco is not concerned about his and Costinha's absence from the England game.

"May those that are going to play in mine and Costinha´s places play well and help us to play one more game. We have quality players, and that was demonstrated in the Mexico game. It's always difficult not to be able to count on suspended players, but we have substitutes for their places."

Deco was disappointed, though, that he could not face England. One of his yellow cards was for a foul to stop a Dutch attack after a drop ball that should have gone Portugal's way. "It was a reflex. First the ball was ours, and when the ref stopped the game, it was in our possession. We were talking to Cocu, and he told me that he was going to put the ball out, but when he passed the ball to the defender, he started running towards our goal. There was a lack of fair-play by Holland."

About the England game, he said: "There's no favourite. We've already managed to beat them. It's going to be just as complicated for them as for us. They have great players, and while they haven't been playing so well, the results are there and they're winning."


FPF president Gilberto Madaíl has said that it is almost impossible to overturn Deco's second yellow, and consequent red, card for picking up the ball at a Holland free kick during the game Sunday. The card puts him out of the quarter-final against England on Saturday. "We're going to analyse FIFA's disciplinary report, which should arrive on Tuesday, but it's almost impossible to alter referees' decisions. It's not a technical error but a decision that will be justified in the report. It's very complicated." Madaíl also addressed Marco van Basten's criticism of Portugal's players for play-acting. "I think it was the Portuguese team that had to put up with provocation during the game. Our players were spectacular and managed to deal very well with a situation that a few years ago could have been explosive."

Meanwhile, FIFA have said that Figo will not be punished for a head-butt on Dutch midfielder van Bommel, because he was given a yellow card and FIFA can only act if the referee did not give anything.

The team had a very light training session Monday: just 20 minutes of jogging and the stretching exercises. Cristiano Ronaldo, with a bruised thigh, had treatment and did not take part in training.

One fan in Amarante,a 61-year-old man, died after the excitement of Sunday's game, apparently from a heart attack. Another man was in hospital with a suspected fractured skull after falling off the statue of the Marqués de Pombal, in the centre of Lisbon, a traditional gathering place for fans after footballing successes. The man also injured a woman as he fell.


In what seemed more like a battle than a football match, Portugal got past Holland Sunday and into the quarter-finals. One goal did it: good work on the right by Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco, a low cross for Pauleta, a neat lay-off for Maniche, a shimmy to take Mathijsen out of the equation and a well-placed shot from ten metres. That was on 23 minutes, but the war-like tone of the game had already been set, initially by Holland with two cynical challenges on Cristiano Ronaldo that would eventually put him out of the game, and subsequently by both sides. The Russian referee was a stickler for the rules and showed a record 16 yellow cards and four red, two for each side. Costinha went before the break for an infantile hand ball, and Deco went in the second half for a second yellow where he was deemed to have stopped Holland taking a free kick. Holland's Boulahrouz , for an elbow on Figo, and Van Bronckhorst also went. Figo himself might have got his marching orders for a nasty head-butt on van Bommel, although the Dutchman exaggerated the force of what was little more than a tap. Figo saw only a yellow. Portugal defended resolutely when down to ten and then nine men, but Holland had various chances to level, notably through Cocu, who hit the bar. But Portugal rode their luck and are through to meet England.

The teams lined up:

Portugal: Ricardo, Nuno Valente, Ricardo Carvalho, Meira, Miguel, Maniche, Deco, Costinha, Figo (Tiago 84), Pauleta (Petit 45), Ronaldo (Simao 34).

Holland: Van der Sar, Van Bronckhorst, Mathijsen (Van der Vaart 56), Ooijer, Boulahrouz, Cocu (Vennegoor of Hesselink 84), Sneijder, Van Bommel (Heitinga 67), Robben, Kuyt, Van Persie.

Luís Figo said: "The team is to be congratulated for its demonstration of character and effort. England? We can win and we can lose ... it's knock-out and anything can happen. But we have a fantastic group and we hope to go as far as possible. My dream is to win the World Cup! If we get to the Final, so much the better.

Maniche, official Man of the Match and the scorer of the only goal, said: "We deserve the victory and we're all to be congratulated. We dignified the country. You could see that we have a fabulous group, of friends. I have good memories of games against Holland … It was an important goal, but the merit must go to the whole team. It wasn't necessary to have so many sendings off … Deco and Costinha are great players. It was a shame! We have other players, though, and I'm sure they're going to do their utmost against England. We got past this great obstacle that was Holland, with a lot of work and effort. We will go through!"


The knock-out stage of the world cup begins Saturday. Portugal's place in the last 16 was won with an impressive 10% record in Group D. They face Holland in Nuremberg on Sunday.

If Portugal get past Holland, they will meet either England or Ecuador in the quarter-finals.

The last-16 games look like this:

24 June: Germany v Sweden (Munich) 16.00
24 June: Argentina v Mexico (Leipzig) 20.00
25 June: England v Ecuador (Stuttgart) 16.00
25 June: Portugal v Holland (Nuremberg) 20.00
26 June: Italy v Australia (Kaiserslautern) 16.00
26 June: Switzerland v Ukraine (Cologne) 20.00
27 June: Brazil v Ghana (Dortmund) 16.00
27 June: Spain v France (Hanover) 20.00

Deco trained Friday with no limitations and it seems that he will be fit for the Holland game after struggling with injury.

The line-up for Sunday should be the one coach Scolari invariably goes for when all players are available: Ricardo, Miguel, Fernando Meira, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Maniche, Deco, Luís Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pauleta. The only player missing from the team that lost the Euro 2004 Final to Greece will be centre-back Jorge Andrade, injured and replaced by Fernando Meira.

FIFA have nominated the Russian referee Valentin Ivanov to officiate the game.

Portugal have been allocated just 3,214 tickets for the Holland game. The tickets for the game were taken up by Mexico fans, confident that they would be top of the Group and therefore playing this fixture. Tickets are now being sold on at an enormous profit; for example, tickets with a face value of 100 euros are being sold on for 350 euros or more.

Marco Caneira and Maniche were at Friday's press conference.


"I think statistics are just that. The most important thing will be confidence and the assumption that we can get through to the quarter-finals … Holland have excellent forwards, playing in the top clubs in Europe, but we're also aware of the capacity of our defence and the group as a whole. In important games, players always play above themselves, and we hope to be able to control those forwards … The teams are very balanced, and in knock-out games, neither will say that they're favourites.


"The current Dutch squad is totally different from the one that was at Euro 2004 – it's younger, but it's still an excellent, very strong squad. No two games are the same, but if we can get the same result as at Euro 2004 [2-1 in the semi-finals], I'll obviously be very happy … It's going to be an even game … [The euphoria surrounding the Selecção] reminds me of the Final of Euro 2004 against Greece – there was great optimism then, and the will to win was the same. We're aware that that may affect us, but we're determined to get past Holland, who have always been and always will be a great force in world football."

Luíz Felipe Scolari has explained to the BBC why he didn't accept the England job after the World Cup. "It's a dream for any coach and I was very pleased to get invited. The Football Association did everything above board, asking the FPF for permission to speak to me. Everything was going well, but we got stuck on a crucial point. They needed to announce a new coach at a time when it was impossible for me. I have a contract with Portugal until 31 July. The way I am, I couldn't agree to be the coach of another country before the World Cup. What if we met up with England and I had to tell the players to die for Portugal. I wouldn't feel good in that situation."


The players involved in Wednesday's game against Mexico went through a 'soft' taining session Thursday, while Deco, rested against Mexico because of his yellow card from a previous game, trained apart for the others. Before the session, Luíz Felipe Scolari spoke to the squad for 20 minutes, and at the end, Scolari spoke to FPF president Gilberto Madaíl, also for 20 minutes.


The players involved in Wednesday's game against Mexico went through a 'soft' taining session Thursday, while Deco, rested against Mexico because of his yellow card from a previous game, trained apart for the others. Before the session, Luíz Felipe Scolari spoke to the squad for 20 minutes, and at the end, Scolari spoke to FPF president Gilberto Madaíl, also for 20 minutes.


Portugal made it three out of three in Group D Wednesday, beating Mexico 2-1 in front of 52,000 at Gelsenkirchen. Maniche got them off to a splendid start on just six minutes, Maniche thumping Simão's square pass home from the edge of the box after a neat cut in from the left by the Benfica winger. It was Simão who got the second from the spot on 23 minutes after Marquez had handled. It took Mexico just five minutes to peg one back, Fonseca heading in from a corner, with no one covering the back post. If the first half was Portugal's, the second belonged to Mexico, even if they were down to ten men on the hour after Luís Perez saw a second yellow for a dive in the area.

The teams lined up:

Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel (Paulo Ferreira 60), Fernando Meira, Ricardo Carvalho, Caneira, Petit, Tiago, Maniche, Figo (Boa Morte 80), Simão, Hélder Postiga (Nuno Gomes 68).

Mexico: Osvaldo Sanchez, Francisco Rodriguez (Zinha 46), Ricardo Osório, Carlos Salcido, Mário Mendez (Guillermo Franco 80), Pavel Pardo, Rafael Marquez, Gonzalo Pineda (Jose Castro 69), Luis Perez, Jose Fonseca, Omar Bravo.

Mexico had one ear on the other game in the group, where Angola took the lead against Iran. But that game ended in a 1-1 draw, and so it is Portugal and Mexico who go through, to play Holland and Argentina respectively. The Selecção knocked Holland out of Euro 2004 in the semi-final. The game between the two is at 20.00 on Sunday.

What they said:

Scolari: "Three wins in a World Cup would mark the life of anyone. I think the way the team performed from beginning to end was good ... We have to continue to do our day-to-day work and try to guarantee another victory ... I feel like we can go further, but there are still three more steps and they're more difficult than the ones we've climbed so far. What we hope for most is to be in the top eight, because that's what we wanted right from the beginning.

Simão: We have to take it game by game .. Of course the pole is set higher now - from now on, any team has a chance to be World Champions.

Hélder Postiga: "I think we were all good and we're to be congratulated. The most important thing is that we won and clinched top spot in the Group - we showed that we were the most consistent ... I did my job - now it's up to the coach to decide."

Marco Caneira: "It was a more tiring game, but we managed to control it. Our objective was to finish top to have an extra day's rest ... If we want to get anywhere, we have to win on Sunday."

Cristiano Ronaldo (rested): "Those who came in played well, but I don't feel that my place is in danger. I work hard to play, but if that doesn't happen, whoever comes in is going to play the same part as me or even better. What0's most important is that Portugal win."

Pauleta (rested): "It was a difficult game against a team that needed at least a draw, but I think Portugal managed to play well, we created a few chances, we scored two and achieved our objective."


The Selecção are in Essen, 20 kms from Gelesenkirchen, ahead of Wednesday's final Group D game against Mexico

As Portugal are already through to the last 16, coach Luíz Felipe Scolari said that players with yellow cards will be rested: "I'm only going to leave out five players … They're not going to play a second, even if we're losing 30-0." Scolari is not frightened of either Argentina or Holland in the last 16: "What we had to do was get through, and we've done that. Now we just have to wait to see who is the winner of Group C to know who we're going to play … although we knew that our next opponent would come from that group. From now on, we mustn't lose. We're prepared for any opponent ... until now, we've only been working for the first phase. After Wednesday, we're going to be working towards our next opponent. But the team are confident, they're up for it and they've been working hard, so it's not hard to coach a team like that.

Eusébio, accompanying the Selecçao, is so confident that he's staying on: "Since we beat Iran, I haven't even been back to Portugal because I have to be close and encourage the boys – I reckon we can go further this time than os Magriços [the 1966 team that came third, after losing to eventual winners England in the semi-final]". Against Mexico, the 'Panther' hopes that "the team go out to win, to come top."

Gilmar Veloz, Scolari's agent, has said that he cannot speak about the possibility of the coach renewing his contract with the FPF: "I was forbidden to talk about it by Mr Scolari from the beginning of the tournament until the end. The coach is totally concentrated on the World Cup, and at the end we'll meet and talk about this and other matters ... At this time I'm not authorised to make any comment on this."


Portugal trained in Gütersloh Sunday, once again in front of thousands of people (around 10,000) who sang the national anthem, constantly encouraged the players and chased autographs. Monday's training session will be behind closed doors.

Portugal are expected to rest some players for the last group game, given that they have already qualified and Scolari will be keen to avoid players being suspended for the last-16 game against Argentina or Holland (depending on positions in the respective groups). The players who are on one yellow are: Cristiano Ronaldo, Costinha, Pauleta, Deco and Nuno Valente.

17/06/06 (II)

With a much improved performance, Portugal beat Iran 2-0 in Frankfurt Saturday (see match report) to go through to the last 16. A superb goal by Deco and a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo, both in the second half, gave Portugal the three points they needed and consigned Iran to the departure lounge, after they play Angola in the last group game. Portugal's last game is against Mexico, who may need to draw to qualify ahead of Angola if the Africans can beat Iran. Portugal's hope now will be to avoid the outstanding Argentina in the next phase.


Angola drew 0-0 with Mexico Friday, leaving the way clear for Portugal to qualify from Group D if they beat Iran on Saturday. "It's the best result in the history of Angolan football," said coach Oliveira Gonçalves.

Cristiano Ronaldo is fit again and ready to start against Iran on Saturday.

Portugal coach Luíz Felipe Scolari said: "This Iran team deserves even more respect than Angola, because they're a stronger team and for them it's also a decisive game. We obviously want to go through, and for that we'll have to win. By 'half'-nil, one nil, two nil ... it doesn't matter – as long as we get the three points … This is the most important group game, because if we win it, we'll go through … Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco can play tomorrow provided that they show me that they're totally recovered in all respects … All of my players are super-motivated for this game and ready to make any sacrifice. I've heard players today say that 'if necessary, I'll play 20, 30, 50, 120 minutes, and if I have to be two more weeks without playing, then I will' … The group is less nervous, but they feel more respect for Iran … they've seen the video of them, and know the problems that await them". Of the teams that he has seen so far, Scolari said that he has been most impressed by: Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, England and Brazil.


Cristiano Ronaldo left the training session early Wednesday complaining of muscle fatigue. The good news was that Deco returned to full training after nursing a thigh injury.

In Wednesday's press conference, midfielder Costinha supported the continuity of Luíz Felipe Scolari at the head of the Selecção: "So many good things have happened with Scolari in charge that I'd like him to continue, but I wonder if it's worth him carrying on, because everything he does is questioned – no one's ever satisfied with his work. Every day he's criticised more and more ... Now it's not the clubs that give the orders over the Selecção but those in charge of the Federation and the coach, who has his own ideas and will die for them. I'm glad about that because I prefe to see a coach die for his own ideas than for someone else's. The younger players are going to bnefit a lot from Scolari … The criticism [of the Selecção] doesn't worry me much. The most important thing is that in the heart of the Selecção there's a very strong team spirit. Bad things that reach there die at birth. We're concentrated on winning games. We know that we have to be mentally very strong, and stong as a team, to beat our opponents on the field, in the stands and beyond … for anyone who didn't see the Iran v Mexico game, it's important to point out that Mexico didn't have it easy. Iran [Portugal's opponents on Saturday] are a strong team, and Portugal have to be concerned about that."

FPF president Gilberto Madaíl was once again asked if Scolari had been pressured by the Federation into not calling up FC Porto goalkeeper Vítor Baía, which has been rumoured for some time. "The FPF is not a third-world organisation. I can guarantee that during the present mandate, no national team coach has been pressured, or even influenced, into calling up player 'A' ou 'B', or leaving out player 'C' or 'D' ". The statement comes after an interview with the Brazilian Ruy Carlos Ostermann – author of Luiz Felipe Scolari's biography after the 2002 World Cup – given to the national daily Jornal de Notícias, in which he says that the decision not to call up Baía came from the FPF.

Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list of 'best-looking and sexiest' players, published by Dutch gay magazine Gay Krant. The winger is picked for 'FC Hunks' alongside: Markus Rosenberg (Sweden) John Heitinga (Holland), Michael Owen (England), Robin van Persie (Holland), David Beckham (England), Fredrik Ljungberg (Sweden), Kaká (Brazil), Fernando Torrres (Spain), Jan Kromkamp (Holland) and Iker Casillas (Spain). On the bench are: Nelson Valdez (Paraguay), Francesco Totti (Italy), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Holland) and Oswaldo Sanchez (Mexico).


The Portugal players had the afternoon off Monday, but unlike earlier in the pre-tournament, they did not overstep the mark and all returned to the hotel by 22.00. Even so, coach Luíz Felipe Scolari has cancelled Tuesday morning's training session. Thousands of fans are expected at the afternoon session.

Deco, who missed the Angola game with a thigh injury, trained apart Monday morning. "I hope to recover in time for Iran", he said.

Portugal's second group game against Iran on Saturday will be played in a stadium with the roof closed. The heat and distracting shadows of the central giant screen at the Frankfurt Commerzbank Arena are at the basis of the decision.

Scolari broke a record Sunday: that of most consecutive victories (eight) in world Cup Finals. He had seven with Brazil in the last World Cup, and now one with Portugal. Sunday also marked goalkeeper Ricardo's 50th appearance.


Portugal got off to a winning start in Germany Sunday, beating Angola 1-0, although their global performance left a lot to be desired. In a first half dominated by Portugal, Pauleta got the single goal on four minutes after a superb run to the line by Figo. The second half was more even, although Angola rarely threatened. The result puts Portugal on equal points with Mexico in Group D , the Central American side beating Iran 3-1. Of the 46,000 seats in the Rhein Energie stadium in Cologne, it is estimated that around 25,000 were for Portugal fans, while around 10,000 went to Angolan supporters.

Luíz Felipe Scolari said: "Angola didn't make it easy for us. If they continue like that, they're contenders for qualifying, because the teams are very similar. We had various chances, but didn't take them. It was a complicated game, as we expected. The early goal gave us a bit of tranquillity, and afterwards we had three or four chances, but we couldn't get a second goal. Angola improved in the second half and got on top. That's why I put some midfielders on. The first game is the most important. There are things in this team's history that are different. In the last World Cup, we conceded three goals in the first game. In Euro 2004 we lost the first game. We have to overcome some things that follow this team. We did some tests and thought it wise not to play Deco. If we want to continue in the World Cup, we have to use players who are fit. If we were playing against Mexico and it was fundamental for qualification, Deco would play, but we've still got two games and there are players for his position. I brought Cristiano Ronaldo off because I had to fill up the midfield. We have three points advantage over Iran. If we win, we've practically eliminated that opponent. Let's see what happens.

Man of the Match Luís Figo was pleased with the result and pre-empted any criticism of the pale display: "As we predicted, the game was difficult. We started well, putting the pressure on, and scored early, and that was important for us. In the second half, we shared the game with Angola. We dropped our rhythm, but that's normal. The press is always critical ... they see the negative things but not the positive. Maybe they were expecting us to win by five or six, but the results in the World Cup have always been close … The team was at the appropriate level for the first game. Angola have quality. Maybe a lot of people thought it would be easy, but it wasn't."

The teams lined up:

Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Fernando Meira, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Petit (Maniche 71), Tiago (Hugo Viana 81), Cristiano Ronaldo (Costinha 59), Figo, Simão, Pauleta.

Angola: João Ricardo, Loco, Jamba, Kali, Delgado, André, Figueiredo (Miloy 79); Zé Kalanga (Edson 69), Mateus, Mendonça, Akwá (Mantorras 58).


Portugal take the field in Germany Sunday against Angola, a former colony. European Unon President José Manuel Durão Barroso visited the Selecção Saturday and said that the national team should not suffer from an inferiority complex. "The sky's the limit!", he said.

The team bus taking the Selecção from Marienfeld to Cologne was delayed one and a half hours due to an accident on the autobahn, leading FPF president Gilberto Madaíl to complain about the lack of a police escort: "If a situation like this happened at home, they'd say that Portugal was a third-world country."


Deco has recovered from a thigh injury that needed an ice-pack after Thursday's training session, following an impetuous challenge from former FC Porto team mate Costinha. The frustrated Barça midfielder kicked out at a chair on his way from the training ground to the hotel.

Portugal's starting line-up for the opener against Angola Sunday should, barring accidents, be: Ricardo, Miguel, Ricardo Carvalho, Fernando Meira, Nuno Valente, Costinha, Petit, Deco, Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pauleta, although Scolari insists that he will only be able to name the team on Sunday.

Scolari said Friday that if Portugal were to lose the opener, they would be "in a desperate situation", because it would leave them probably needing to win the last two group games against Iran and Mexico, and even that might not be enough.

FPF president Gilberto Madaíl addressed the squad Thursday, and hinted at the type of behaviour expected, on and off the field: "I don't ask anything of you in particular in terms of results, but I do ask you to dignify the name of Portugal. I know that this is going to happen, and in the moments of joy and difficulty, the Portuguese people will be proud to be represented by this brilliant group.


Paulo Ferreira has returned to Portugal until Thursday to be present at the birth of his son.

Nuno Gomes
has said that he will shave off his (long) hair if Portugal win the World Cup.


The Selecção trained for one and a half hours Monday ... in front of 12,500 people at the training ground. Many people were shut out, and free vouchers for entry into the ground were being sold on for up to 50 euros.

Jorge Larrionda of Uruguay will referee Portugal's first game on Sunday against Angola.


The Portugal squad have Sunday in Marienfeld, their base for the World Cup, and there was light training for those who played in Saturday's game against Luxembourg. The team bus was escorted to the hotel from the airport by hundreds of motorbikes, and fans had formed a human chain for the last few kilometres. But the players were largely cool towards the fans, which generated a little bad feeling.


Portugal won their last game before the World Cup proper Saturday, beating minnows Luxembourg (who had previously lost to Germany 7-0) 3-0 at Metz's Saint Symphorien stadium. Embarrassingly, in front of 20,000 Portuguese emigrants, Portugal struggled in the first half, and it was Luxembourg who had the best chance, Joaquim looping a header from the edge of the box aganst the bar. But while people were still bringing their hot-dogs back to their seats after the break, Portugal were ahead, sub Simão following up other sub Hélder Postiga's shot, parried by Joubert, to head home. Portugal were more comfortable in the second half than the first, when the midfield had lost and awful lot of ball, and extended their lead on 73 minutes, Simão getting his second from the spot after a foul on Figo. It was Figo, Portugal's man of the match, who got the third five minutes from time, chesting down a Hugo Viana through ball and prodding expertly home under pressure.

The game was a little rough at times, the referee reluctant to show cards throughout. But Cristiano Ronaldo was shown a yellow on 33 minutes when he reacted to a bad challenge from Strasser by slapping the Luxembourg captain, and on 70 minutes, the Portuguese winger poked Schnell in the eye as both went for the ball near the line. In the World Cup proper Ronaldo will see red for similar acts. Coach Luíz Felipe Scolari has told him that he must keep his head. "I'm sorry, and I hope it doesn't happen again", was Cristiano Ronaldo's reaction.

Portugal lined up:

Ricardo, Miguel, Fernando Meira (Ricardo Costa, 59m), Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha (Petit, h-t), Maniche (Tiago, 67); Figo, Deco (Simão, h-t), Cristiano Ronaldo (Hugo Viana, 70); Pauleta (Hélder Postiga, h-t).

Subs not used: Quim, Paulo Santos, Paulo Ferreira, Caneira, Boa Morte, Nuno Gomes.

As the Selecção left Portugal on their way to Luxembourg, Luíz Felipe Scolari set his sights lower than might have been expected with respect to Portugal's chances in Germany: "If we're seventh in the world [the FIFA rankings] in a competition with 32 clubs, we have to finish in the top eight … and after that, anything will be a bonus." Scolari also addressed the question of the players' days off and what they can do with them: "I don't want to know where they go and who they're with. They only have to respect some rules and be careful in some situations, like drink and drugs."


It was the the Selecção's last day of training in the searing heat of the Alentejo (38º) Tuesday. Luís Boa Morte, just back from injury, returned to training apart form the other players. The squad visited Évora City Hall in the morning. In the afternoon they were visited by some of the players from the squad that came third in 1966 ( 'Os Magriços'), and the Prime Minister José Socrates. Asked if he thought Portugal could win the World Cup, he said: "Of course they can!"

The Portuguese Assembleia da República (Parliament) has altered its order of business for 21 June so as not to clash with Portugal's final group game against Mexico (15.00).


After a week at the training camp in Évora, Luís Boa Morte and Nuno Gomes, who have been nursing injuries, were finally included in the plenary session, although it was light due to the intense heat felt in the area. Also taking part in his first session was goalkeeper Paulo Santos, who replaces Bruno Vale, injured for the U-21s. there were 500 to watch the session, mainly children from local schools.

Various tabloids ran the story of Miguel, Simão and Boa Morte, who were seen clubbing until the early hours on the eve of their day off on Sunday. However, the Federation's press officer has said that what the players do on their day off is up to them.


Portugal beat former colony Cape Verde 4-1 Saturday in the Selecção's penultimate game before Germany (there is one friendly left, against Luxembourg). Ricardo Carvalho put Pauleta through in the first minutes to set Portugal off, but they struggled to capitalise on the lead, and it was Cape Verde who surprisingly took the game to Portugal, Lito and Cafu especially causing the Portuguese defence all sorts of problems with their pace, problems which culminated in an equaliser on 20 minutes, Cafu making the line on the right and centring for Lito to challenge and force an own goal from Fernando Meira. It was Pauleta again, however, who put Portugal back in front, on 38 minutes, heading home a Figo corner.

The second half saw Cape Verde tiring and Portugal taking up the reins of the game. Petit drove a loose ball home from the edge of the area on the hour, and Pauleta got his hat trick on 83 minutes to give Portugal a flattering win against a Cape Verde side that was far from a pushover, especially in the first half.

The teams lined up:

Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Fernando Meira, Ricardo Carvalho, Caneira (Paulo Ferreira, 46), Petit (Tiago, 65), Maniche (Costinha, 46), Deco (Hugo Viana, 46), Figo (Simão, 46), Cristiano Ronaldo (Hélder Postiga, 62) and Pauleta.

Cape Verde: Ernesto (Veiga, 86), Janício, Nélson Veiga, Zé Piguita, Nando, Sandro, Vítor Moreno (Nené, 52), Emerson (Marco, 85), Lito (Hernâni, 80), Caló (Rodolfo Lima, 61) and Cafú (Dady, 72).

Goalkeeper Bruno Vale, who broke a bone in his foot during Portugal U-21s' defeat to Serbia Montenegro Thursday, will be replaced in the senior squad by Sporting Braga's Paulo Santos.


Cable channel Sport TV have issued a press release clarifying the ban on the transmission of World Cup games in public (see below). They now say that bars and restaurants can show the games, but they cannot be shown on giant screens in public places like parks.


Cable channel Sport TV has warned that it has total rights (along with independent channel SIC) over the airing of World Cup games. It is hoping to scare local councils, bars and restaurants from showing games to the public and says that it has the support of FIFA in this respect. "SportTV does not authorise the transmission of any television images of the FIFA World Cup 2006 (including those transmitted on an pen signal) in public places and/or giant screens," read a press release from the cable company.

The local people of Évora, 120 kms east of Lisbon, where the Selecção are in training, are up in arms. The capacity for spectators at the training ground is 550, but demand far outweighs this. The training ground has a temporary stand, which will raise capacity to 10,000 for the friendly with Cape Verde on Saturday, but this has yet to receive the all-clear from local safety authorities, according to the FPF.

National Daily Público is running a survey to see how much people agree with Luíz Felipe Scolari's squad for Germany. So far, the most popular players are Deco, Critiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Carvalho.


The players of the Selecção have gathered at the National Stadium near Lisbon at the start of their World Cup adventure. Deco was a late arrival after helping Barcelona to win the Champions League on Wednesday. The players have undergone medical checks and had their first training session Friday.

Shirt numbers have been allocated:

1 - Ricardo
2 - Paulo Ferreira
3 - Marco Caneira
4 - Ricardo Costa
5 - Fernando Meira
6 - Costinha
7 - Luís Figo
8 - Petit
9 - Pauleta
10 - Hugo Viana
11 - Simão Sabrosa
12 - Quim
13 - Miguel
14 - Nuno Valente
15 - Luís Boa Morte
16 - Ricardo Carvalho
17 - Cristiano Ronaldo
18 - Maniche
19 - Tiago
20 - Deco
21 - Nuno Gomes
22 - Bruno Vale
23 - Hélder Postiga

The man responsible for the physical condition of the players of the Selecção, Darlan Schneider , said Friday that they are in better condition than at the start of Euro 2004, and that they will be in even better shape come the start of the World Cup.

The FPF has taken out a policy, costing 35,000 euros and providing 17 million of cover, to insure the players of the Selecções that will take part in the World Cup and the U-21 European Championship.

The players' suits, designed by Fátima Lopes, were unveiled Wednesday. The models were Luís Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, the former wearing the formal look (black pin-stripe), the latter more casual (no tie).

Kaz Patafta, 17, has been called up by Australia coach Guus Hiddink as insurance against two squad players who have been injured and may not be fit in time for the World Cup. Patafta arrived at Benfica in January and made it to the B team.


Luíz Felipe Scolari named his squad for Germany Monday. It was a predictable choice, given Scolari's philosophy of continuity and group spirit, but by no means popular or logical:

Ricardo (Sporting), 30 years old, 47 caps
Quim (Benfica), 30, 24 caps
Bruno Vale (Estrela da Amadora), 23, 1 cap

Miguel (Valência), 26, 26 caps
Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea), 27, 29 caps
Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), 28, 22 caps
Fernando Meira (Stuttgart), 27, 28 caps
Ricardo Costa (FC Porto), 24, 2 caps
Caneira (Sporting), 27, 12 caps
Nuno Valente (Everton), 31, 22 caps

Costinha (no club), 31, 42 caps
Petit (Benfica), 29, 34 caps
Maniche (Chelsea), 28, 29 caps
Tiago (Lyon), 25, 20 caps
Deco (Barcelona), 28, 33 caps
Hugo Viana (Valência), 23, 19 caps
Figo (Inter Milan), 33, 118
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), 21, 30 caps
Boa Morte (Fulham), 28, 24 caps
Simão (Benfica), 26, 41 caps

Nuno Gomes (Benfica), 29, 53 caps
Pauleta (Paris Saint-Germain), 33, 80 caps
Hélder Postiga (Saint-Etienne), 23, 21 caps


Agostinho Oliveira named his U-21 squad for the upcoming European Championship in Portugal, and the inclusion of Ricardo Quaresma (FC Porto), João Moutinho (Sporting) and Bruno Vale (Estrela da Amadora) mean that they will all miss out on the World Cup. The absence of Quaresma especially, widely considered as the best Portuguese player on show in this season's Liga, is seen as a shock.

Angola coach Oliveira Gonçalves has named his squad for the World Cup. Several Portugal-based players feature, all from the lower divisions except Pedro Mantorras of Benfica, Mateus of Gil Vicente and Edson of Paços de Ferreria. They are: Marco Airosa (Barreirense), Marco Abreu (Portimonense), Kali (Barreirense), Mendonça (Varzim), Figueiredo (Varzim).


Luíz Felipe Scolari has revealed that he has his 23 for Germany in mind, which means he has decided on a replacement for injured central defender Jorge Andrade. He has refused to give any clues, though, until 15 May. Wolfsburg utility player Alex, formerly of Benfica, has said that he has been contacted by Scolari to say that he would be in the squad.


A survey by Marktest for TSF Radio and the national daily Diário de Notícias shows that 39% of those questioned feel that Portugal will make the final of the World Cup. 19% think that the Selecção will reach the semi-finals, and 17.5% the quarters. 22% think that Portugal can win the Cup, but 32% say that the winners will be Brazil. 59% think that Luíz Felipe Scolari has done a positive job, while 23% think he has done a very good job.


FIFA president Joseph Blatter has contacted the Portuguese Football Federation to deny that he told a Croatian newspaper that Portuguese politicians are putting pressure on the Portugal coach Luíz Felipe Scolari to pick FC Porto 'keeper Vítor Baía for the World Cup. Baía has not figured in Scolari's plans ever since he took over the job after the 2002 World Cup, much to the bemusement of many.


National coach Luíz Felipe Scolari will announce his final squad for the World Cup on 15 May. The squad meet up two days later for medical checks and then move on to the training camp in Évora, 150 kms east of Lisbon. On 27 May, the Selecção play a friendly against Cape Verde, and on 2 June, they fly to Luxembourg. They play Luxembourg in a friendly on 3 June (in Metz, France), and then move on to Germany on 4 May.


The campaign to push the image of Portugal via the Selecção's participation in the World Cup was launched in Germany Monday. Entitled 'Força Portugal', the campaign aims to promote Portuguese companies and brands. Football Federation vice-president Ângelo Brou said: "We're very proud that it's football that's working once again as the stimulus for the promotion of our country ... the name of Portugal is enriched whenever football is around."


National team coach Luíz Felipe Scolari has named his squad for the friendly against Saudi Arabia, a preparation game for the World Cup, to be played in Düsseldorf on 1 March. There is a place for FC Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma, who has been thrilling crowds with his form this season. Returning to the goal is Benfica's Quim, who has not been playing, and out goes Sporting Braga's Paulo Santos, who has. Costinha also has a place, although he is training with the Dynamo Moscow's B Team after a dispute with the club. There are no places for Benfica's Simão and Nuno Gomes.

Goalkeepers: Quim (Benfica), Ricardo (Sporting).

Defenders: Nuno Valente (Everton) Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea), Jorge Andrade (Déportivo de la Coruña), Caneira (Sporting), Fernando Meira (Stuttgart), Miguel (Valência).

Midfielders: Costinha (Dynamo Moscow), Petit (Benfica), Maniche (Chelsea), Figo (Inter Milan), Tiago (Lyon), Quaresma (FC Porto), Deco (Barcelona).

Forwards: Hélder Postiga (Saint-Etienne), Pauleta (PSG), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).


Sports daily Record revealed Friday what the bonus system will be for the Selecção in Germany. If they don't pass the group stage, they'll receive nothing. If they do, they'll get 10,000 euros. For reaching the quarter-finals they'll get 25,000, the semi-finals 50,000, the Final 150,000, and if they win it, they will each receive 275,000 euros. The FPF (Portuguese Football Federation) has denied that the bonus scheme has yet been decided.


Mexico , in Portugal's group at the World Cup finals in Germany, are to use hypnosis to prepare the players for the tournament, it was revealed Friday.


State TV channel RTP has secured from SportTv the rights to show highlights (maximum 20 minutes) of all the games at the World Cup. Commercial channel SIC has the rights to all the Portugal games.


The Portuguese Football Federation will begin to take applications for the purchase of World Cup tickets as of 1 January through the official FPF site (see links). Portugal will be allocated only 8% of the tickets for any given game, although the Federation is trying to get this number increased. For matches after the group phase, tickets are allocated on condition that Portugal get through*. Applicants can buy a maximum of four tickets for categories 1-3, and only two for category 4, the cheapest.


(Category 1 – Category 2 – Category 3 – Category 4)

Portugal v Angola: 100 euros - 60 - 45 - 35
Portugal v Iran: 100 euros - 60 - 45 - 35
Portugal v Mexico: 100 euros - 60 - 45 - 35
Last 16*: 120 euros - 75 - 60 - 45
Quarter-finals*: 180 euros - 110 - 85 - 55
Semi-finals*: 400 euros - 240 - 150 - 90
3rd and 4th place*: 120 euros - 75 - 60 - 45
Final*: 600 euros - 360 - 220 - 120


Commercial TV channel SIC will show 13 games from the World Cup, and will pay 530,000 euros for each one, investment bank BANIF has revealed.


German euro-deputy Angelika Beer called for Iran to be banned from next summer's World Cup Wednesday after the Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadineyad made some openly ant-semitic comments. But FIFA have refused flatly to do any such thing as, said spokesman Andreas Herren: "We strictly separate politics and sport." Iran will be in Portugal's group in the first phase of the tournament.


Portugal have been drawn in Group D for the World Cup in Germany next summer and will face Mexico, Iran and ... their 'brothers' Angola.

Portugal's first game is against Angola in Cologne. They then play Iran on 17 June in Frankfurt, and finally play group favourites Mexico on 21 June in Gelsenkirchen.

National coach Luíz Felipe Scolari said: "We can't complain. It would be better, of course, to be abe to choose our opponents, but as it's a draw ... There was a lot of euphoria in 2002 . Everyone thought it would be easy and it ended up being a nightmare. We don't want to go through the same thing. We have to warn the fans, the people of Portugal and the players: we'll have to work hard ... Angola is a country with which we have a great relationship, but we have to play them. In a mini-championship over three games, because after that it's kill or be killed, we'll have to try to win ... I've worked in the Arab world, and although I don't know the Iranian squad very well, I have great respect for their football. I spoke to Zico [Japan's coach] about Iran and he told me to be very careful in all respects. As for Mexico, they have terrific, high quality players."

The full list of groupings is:

Group A:
1. Germany
2. Costa Rica
3. Poland
4. Equador

Group B:
1. England
2. Paraguay
3. Trinidad and Tobago
4. Sweden

Group C:
1. Argentina
2. Ivory Coast
3. Serbia/Montenegro
4. Holland

Group D:
1. Mexico
2. Iran
3. Angola
4. Portugal

Group E:
1. Italy
2. Ghana
3. United States
4. Czech Republic

Group F:
1. Brazil
2. Croatia
3. Australia
4. Japan

Grupo G:
1. France
2. Switzerland
3. South Korea
4. Togo

Group H:
1. Spain
2. Ukraine
3. Tunisia
4. Saudi Arabia

The whole shebang kicks off on 9 June with Germany versus Costa Rica in Munich.


The Portuguese squad will stay at the Klosterpforte hotel complex in Marienfeld during their participation in next summer's World Cup.


Portugal have been placed in Pool 3 for the World Cup draw to be made later this month. the draw means that they cannot meet Croatia, Holland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland or Ukraine at the group stage.

Pool 1:
Germany, England, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico;
Pool 2:
Australia, Angola, Ivory Coast, Equador, Ghana, Paraguay, Togo, Tunisia;
Pool 3:
Croatia, Holland, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine.
Special Pool:
Pool 4:
Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Costa Rica, United States, Iran, Japan, Trinidad and Tobago.


Cable channel SportTv will show all the games of the World Cup Finals, but it has negotiated with terrestrial channel SIC to allow it to show 13 or 14 games, including all those involving the Portuguese National Team. SportTv is obliged by Portuguese law to cede the rights to a number of the games to a terrestrial channel.


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