Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Gallant Portugal aim for victorious finale

Italy's Leonardo Ghiraldini is hauled down by Portugal's Ruben Spachuck, top, in Paris, France on Wednesday.

Italy's Leonardo Ghiraldini is hauled down by Portugal's Ruben Spachuck, top, in Paris, France on Wednesday.

Portugal coach Tomaz Morais believes his men can crown a hugely encouraging debut appearance at the World Cup finals with victory over Romania on Tuesday after they pushed Italy all the way before losing 31-5 here at the Parc des Princes.
"We have to be ambitious as well as realistic," Morais said after his side were applauded off the field in front of a near-capacity crowd following another gutsy Pool C display.
"We beat them (Romania) by one point in Lisbon (16-15 in 2003). We are going to try to surprise Romania. We're capable of winning."
Wednesday's final scoreline disguised the fact that 15 of Italy's points came inside the last 20 minutes as the mainly amateur Portuguese tired against a team of professionals, several of whom play for leading European club sides.
When Portugal secured the 20th and last place in the tournament there were plenty of pundits who believed they would suffer several huge defeats.
But Portugal have scored tries in all three of their Pool matches to date, even during a 108-13 reverse against tournament favorites New Zealand where they were far from disgraced.
And on Wednesday they scored by far the best try of the match when lock David Penalva crowned a slick handling move by going over in the right corner in the 33rd minute.
At 26, Penalva could yet be around for future World Cup campaigns.
That's also true of the lively half-back pairing of Jose Pinto (26) and Duarte Cardoso Pinto (25) while captain and No 8 Vasco Uva, whose team were thrashed 83-0 by Italy in October, is also aged 25.
"When we came to the World Cup, we wanted to launch these young people as the future of Portuguese rugby," said Morais.
"The mistakes we're committing now, we won't make in the future. With more games, we should be a more equal adversary."
Despite Italy's late surge, Portugal still denied the Azzurri a bonus point for scoring four tries and Morais said for that reason the result was "something of a victory" for Portugal.
"We're not sad, we are still taking great steps forward and surprising people. This is the first time this team played in front of 45,000 people."


Updated : 2021-10-19 10:54 GMT+08:00