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Portugal trying to avoid opening loss from four years ago at European Championship

Portugal trying to avoid opening loss from four years ago at European Championship

Despite a memorable campaign at the 2004 European Championship, Portugal doesn't want a repeat of its opening match.
In a much-anticipated debut in front of its home fans, Portugal lost 2-1 to Greece before recovering to go on to reach the final, against the same opponents.
The last thing Portugal wants is another surprise defeat when it opens against Turkey on Saturday in Geneva in Group A.
"We saw how difficult it was after that loss," left back Paulo Ferreira said.
Ferreira remembers that match well. His costly error led to an early goal by Greece and he was eventually dropped from the team.
Portugal stayed in contention in the group stage by beating Russia 2-0 and Spain 1-0. It later eliminated England on penalties in the quarterfinals and the Netherlands 2-1 in the semifinals, before eventually losing 1-0 to Greece again in the final.
The Portuguese are hoping for an easier path to the final this time around.
"It's crucial to start well," Ferreira said. "That gives us tranquility for the other matches, gives us a margin (of error)."
Defender Fernando Meira was just as adamant about the game at Stade de Geneve, with Portugal playing the Czech Republic on Wednesday in Geneva and then co-host Switzerland four days later in Basel.
"It would be an enormous advantage to win and an enormous disadvantage to lose," he said. "We need to get by Turkey, so all of our focus is on that game."
The Portuguese squad had its final practice session Friday. Deco, who had trained separately a day before because of a muscle injury in his left thigh, was back with the rest of the players. Doctors said his injury should not keep him from playing Saturday.
Portugal beat Turkey in the group stage at the 1996 European Championship and then in the quarterfinals four years later.
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari twice faced Turkey when he led his native Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title. The Brazilians won 2-1 in the group opener and 1-0 in the semifinals.
In addition to its runner-up finish in 2004, Portugal enters Euro 2008 boosted by a semifinal appearance at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when it was eliminated by France.
Switzerland plays the Czech Republic in Basel in the other Group A match on Saturday.


Updated : 2020-11-30 16:19 GMT+08:00