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European: Euro 2004 Group A

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posted on May, 24 2004 @ 03:53 PM

Group A


Portugal will be the favourtes of the group but the presence of fierce rivals Spain makes it a group with several possibilities. What with Greece and Russia both experiencing a upside in form, this could be one of the most fiercely fought groups.

Portugal, under the guidance of Brazil's World Cup winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, will be expected to deliver with the inspiration of Luis Figo to call on. But massive expectations may weigh heavily on a host nation that has suffered under pressure before.

Spain are long-overdue a performance of significance at a major tournament, and in Raul they have a true world star.

Greece, however, lie in wait and they beat Spain on their own ground on the way to winning qualifying Group 6.

Russia, unbeaten under coach Georgi Yartsev, possibly lack the individual brilliance to make a real impact.

VERDICT: Portugal and Spain to progress.

[Edited on 24/5/04 by TRD]


posted on Jun, 7 2004 @ 05:06 PM
Portugal playmaker and talismanic figure Luis Figo has been forced to train apart from his team-mates due to fears over a troublesome muscle strain.

The mercurial Madrid wide man has been training alone in the gym but could be pronounced fit to return for an afternoon workout on Monday.


posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 05:09 PM
Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho has warned his team-mates not to be caught cold by Greece in Saturday's Euro 2004 tournament opener in Porto's Estadio do Dragao.

In a group that also features Spain and Russia, many pundits have identified Greece as group whipping boys even though they qualified automatically ahead of Spain.

Porto defender Carvalho believes that Greece could have a few surprises up their sleeve in a game where Portugal will have to get off to a good start in front of their passionate home fans at the dragon's lair.


posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 05:16 PM
Spain defender Ivan Helguera is desperate to help his country avoid another disappointing performance in a major competition.

Helguera concedes Spain have a reputation as perennial underachievers after a history of failure in international tournaments.

Their recent record in the European Championships is particularly disappointing, as despite the undoubted potential to win the competition they have failed to get past the quarter-finals in both 1996 and 2000.

If they play to their potential, Spain should sail through their group this time around which pits them against the hosts Portugal and supposed weaker sides Greece and Russia.

Should they do that, they have the class to reach at least the semi-finals, but Helguera admits he is worried.


posted on Jun, 11 2004 @ 01:00 PM
Veteran Russia midfielder Alexander Mostovoi admits it will be "extremely difficult" for his side to reach the Euro 2004 quarter-finals after injuries rocked the team's preparations.

First-choice central-defensive pair Victor Onopko (knee) and Sergei Ignashevich (ankle) are both out of their tournament opener against Spain in Faro on Saturday, with hosts Portugal their second opponents next Wednesday.

Two defeats would leave them in danger of being out of the competition even before their last group game against Greece.


posted on Jun, 12 2004 @ 06:31 AM
This is a tough group. It will be hard to call but going on form Portugal should take it. But if Spain and Greece play up to their best, who knows? The only ones i say don't have a chance to get through is Russia.


posted on Jun, 12 2004 @ 07:57 AM
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is convinced that his side are the equal of Brazil in terms of footballing ability and sees no reason why the host nation should not lift its first major trophy at Euro 2004.

Speaking before Portugal play the opening match of the tournament against Greece at the Estadio do Dragao later today, the Brazilian coach made a bold declaration of his faith in the quality of a team still looking for its maiden win on the international stage.

Scolari is well qualified to make such a comparison as two years ago he led Brazil to their fifth World Cup title in Yokohama after taking the reins at a time when the Latin Americans were in crisis and in real danger of not qualifying for the quadrennial football fiesta for the first time in their history.

Five World Cup wins makes Brazil the most successful nation in football history and is in stark contrast to the record of Portugal who have never even reached the final of a major tournament.

Three times Portugal have reached semi-finals - in the 1966 World Cup and in Euro 84 and Euro 2000 - but never have they made it through to the tournament decider.


posted on Jun, 12 2004 @ 08:06 AM
Greece enter the dragon's lair this evening in the opening match of Euro 2004 with Portugal but their wily coach Otto Rehhagel is confident that his men have what it takes to derail the host nation's hopes of lifting their first major trophy.

The Estadio do Dragao (Dragon Stadium) provides the arena for the tournament curtain-raiser with Greece cast by some in the role of cannon fodder for Portugal, who certainly have a collection of individual talents that could match any of the 16 finalists.

However, Rehhagel is relishing the role of David against Goliath and believes that the pressure of performing in front of a home crowd could unsettle a Portuguese team for whom many players are aware that Euro 2004 could represent their last opportunity to win a major trophy with the national side.


posted on Jun, 12 2004 @ 08:16 AM
Russia are confident they can cope with the absence of key defenders Viktor Onopko and Sergei Ignashevich when they face Spain on Saturday.

"Missing two first-team defenders is not totally negative," said assistant coach Alexander Borodyuk.

"Without them, the team will have to move about more and help each other to compensate for the characteristics of those two prominent players."

Russia have won only one of their previous six encounters against Spain.


posted on Jun, 15 2004 @ 12:01 PM
Russia were left reeling on the eve of the crunch Euro 2004 Group A clash with hosts Portugal after veteran Aleksandr Mostovoi was sent home for allegedly questioning coach Georgi Yartsev's training regime.

The 35-year-old Celta Vigo midfielder was dismissed from his country's Algarve base at Vilamoura in the wake of comments he is understood to have made to Spanish radio station Onda Cero in the wake of Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Spain.

Mostovoi, known as 'The Tsar' in Spain, is reported to have said: "We were totally shattered. I don't think Spain were worked as hard as we were before this tournament.

"I'm really angry about it and I don't think we'll qualify now."

Yartsev responded swiftly to the comments and Mostovoi will play no further part in the tournament.


posted on Jun, 20 2004 @ 05:26 AM
Spain coach Inaki Saez has made four changes to his side for Sunday's crucial clash against Portugal in Lisbon.

The biggest surprise is the inclusion of young Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres to partner captain Raul, with Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes relegated to the bench.

Real Sociedad midfielder Xabi Alonso will also start his first match of the tournament, with Valencia's Ruben Baraja making way.

As expected, Real Betis winger Joaquin will replace Athletic Bilbao's Joseba Etxebarria who is struggling with a thigh injury.

Juanito, also of Betis, replaces Carlos Marchena in the centre of defence while the Valencia man serves a one-match suspension.

Spain, who trained for an hour at the Jose Alvalade stadium on Saturday night, are second in Group A but know a defeat to Portugal is likely to eliminate them from the competition.


posted on Jun, 20 2004 @ 04:35 PM
Greece progressed through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2004 despite going down to a shock 2-1 defeat to already-eliminated Russia in Faro.
Dmitri Kirichenko gave Russia the lead inside 70 seconds, poking the ball clear of Greece's static defence before firing a low shot into the corner of Antonios Nikopolidis' net.

Greece tried to get back into the game but some slack marking allowed the Russians to double their lead when Dmitri Boulykin steered a powerful header from a right-wing corner into the roof of the net.

However, Greece gave their hopes a kick-start two minutes before the interval when Zissis Vryzas held off his marker to lift a left-footed shot over Viatcheslav Malafeev from eight yards.


posted on Jun, 20 2004 @ 04:36 PM
second-half goal from substitute Nuno Gomes gave Portugal victory over Spain and took them through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2004.

The Benfica striker, on as a half-time substitute for the ineffective Pauleta, answered his country's prayers with the crucial winning goal on 57 minutes.

He fired a right-footed shot into the left corner past Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas after holding the ball up well and turning.

The goal takes Portugal through to the last eight as group winners along with Greece, who qualify despite a 2-1 defeat by Russia in their final group game.
But for Spain it means an early exit and yet another disappointing tournament at the highest level.


posted on Jun, 22 2004 @ 12:12 PM
Cristiano Ronaldo has already experienced the dark side of Wayne Rooney's nature but Portugal's rival teenage phenomenon insists the hosts are not afraid of England's shining star lighting up Lisbon once more.

Ronaldo was the victim of a wild and painful lunge by Rooney when Everton played at Manchester United last season, when the England star was lucky to escape with a caution and was substituted before his fuse blew again.

That day, the 19-year-old Portuguese winger upstaged his opponent, his junior in age by a year, creating two goals as United triumphed 3-2 but the memory of that incident still makes him wince.


posted on Jun, 22 2004 @ 12:13 PM
Spain coach Inaki Saez has announced he will be continuing in the post despite his side's early exit from Euro 2004.

Spain failed to make it past the first phase of the competition after finishing third in Group A behind hosts Portugal and surprise-packages Greece.

It was another bitter blow for the Spanish, who have often underachieved on the biggest stage, but one that Saez is determined to put right.

He announced at a press conference in Madrid on Tuesday that he wants to lead Spain into the next World Cup in Germany.


posted on Jun, 25 2004 @ 01:21 PM
The decision by Inaki Saez to resign as Spain coach following his side's disastrous first-round exit from the European Championship has thrown open the question of who will be his replacement.

Although he probably had to go after failing to inspire enough passion among his side and failing to show the tactical flexibility to react when his side needed goals, Saez has left the job at a bad time.

Most of the favourites for the position are already under contract at other clubs and some may well be regretting recent decisions.

Former Real Madrid boss Vicente del Bosque could well have been the popular choice to replace Saez.

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