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Euro 2016

Painful lesson of 2004 can be inspiration for Portugal

 Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (3L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Euro 2016 match between Hungary and Portugal, on June 22, 2016.PHOTO/AFP

Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (3L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Euro 2016 match between Hungary and Portugal, on June 22, 2016.PHOTO/AFP

Paris, France, July 10- Portugal may have experience of a European Championship final, but Sunday’s Euro 2016 showpiece against France will be a role reversal for them.

Cristiano Ronaldo was a teenager when Portugual, with Luis Figo as their talisman, suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Greece before a disbelieving crowd in Lisbon in the Euro 2004 final.

Twelve years on, Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo and veteran centre-back Ricardo Carvalho are the only survivors in the Portuguese squad from that game as they prepare to face the hosts for the Euro 2016 title at the Stade de France.

Just like Greece in 2004, Portugal have not won too many admirers with their performances in France. They failed to win a game in 90 minutes before defeating Wales 2-0 in the semi-finals.

However, they now have a glorious chance to follow in the footsteps of that Greek side by beating France in the final and spoling the home party.

Coach Fernando Santos knows that France are under pressure to win the trophy on home soil, just as they did at the 1984 Euros and at the 1998 World Cup. But he expects them to cope with that better than Portugal did more than a decade ago.

“There is pressure. We have that experience from 2004. But the France players are playing at home and they’re very experienced,” Santos told reporters at the Stade de France on Saturday.

“Their players play in the best teams and they are used to very intense games. Some of them played in the Champions League final.

“They are very experienced and Didier Deschamps is a very experienced manager. I’m sure Didier is taking care of that. All I do is think of how my players will play and I want them to play their best in order to win.”

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A tearful Ronaldo and his distraught team-mates were stunned by their failure in that final and must have wondered if they would ever get so close to major tournament glory again.

Now they are 90 minutes away from the title and after the semi-final win against Wales Ronaldo said: “I hope on Sunday you’ll see me crying with joy.”

– ‘We suffered’ –

Santos himself covered the 2004 final as a pundit for a Portuguese radio station, something he was quick to remind one reporter when asked about his memories of that night.

“I was with you, on air! I think I was with you. We were doing commentary on that game,” said Santos, a former coach of Greece.

“It was a very important game for us. We were playing at home and we suffered a lot.

“But it’s one thing being a commentator — it’s entirely different to be on the pitch and lead the team.

“Now I have to motivate the team, but my brain has to keep going because we have to find solutions. I’m still a fan of Portugal and I want us to win, but I have to be clear-headed enough to get us there.”

In 2004 Portugal recovered from losing to Greece in the tournament’s opening game to knock out Spain, England and the Netherlands en route to the final.

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But against a workmanlike Greek side they stumbled at the crucial moment and Carvalho admitted this week that the Selecao were “never comfortable” when it came to the crunch match.

They now hope to emulate Greece and leave the French in a state of shock.

“I’d like that. That would be amazing,” said Portugal’s Brazilian-born defender Pepe on Saturday.

“But it’s apples and oranges. Twelve years have gone by and tomorrow is a totally different kettle of fish. I hope we follow the manager’s orders to achieve our goal.”

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  1. Honest Kenyan

    May 21, 2013 at 7:02 am

    He will also skip 40 something other African Countries, he never came here since he became president, and his visit will not suddenly make the countries he visits more prosperous.

    • Gabby

      May 21, 2013 at 9:53 am

      But NOT a country that has KDF guys ‘dying’ for ‘him’ to make headway against Al-Shaabab…… What a stub in the face…..

      • Honest Kenyan

        May 21, 2013 at 10:03 am

        KDF guys are dying for Kenya. Kenya needs security within its borders, less refugees from Somalia, and safe seas for optimal trading in Kenyan ports. That’s their primary mission. US interests etc are collateral to that, and the US pays KDF handsomely for that.

        • Gabby

          May 21, 2013 at 10:22 am

          …….’US pays KDF handsomely for that’….. A squadron. platoon for hire you contend. This is a proxy war, you just confirmed.. Somali’s have been brothers maybe you can never tell them apart from guys from Mandera and the like who we went to school with…..

          • Honest Kenyan

            May 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm

            We were clever enough to convince the US that it was a problem they and their western friends needed to pay for – that’s a clever strategy on our part – thus subsidizing our war effort. However, piracy on ships destined to and from our ports, kidnapping our tourists, terror in our cities, making North Eastern Kenya ungovernable, radical islamization, secessionist designs, smuggling undermining our traders, proliferation of small arms in the hands of crooks, piracy money distorting our economy, more than a million refugees…those were very much Kenyan problems KDF is sorting out.

          • Gabby

            May 21, 2013 at 10:30 pm

            You are barely the ‘clever; you purport in the ‘we’. How much does the US pay ‘handsomely’ to a mum, brother, sister, son, daughter, uncle, auntie, niece, nephew, in-law….you get the drift for the ‘convince’ part in all this cleverness for an empty slot in the bereaved home???

  2. Mkenya

    May 21, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Obama…. please, please, please do not come to Kenya… we have God… we don’t need American Dollars…. watch this space…..You will need to get a visa to come to Kenya in the very, very near future!

  3. lopez

    May 21, 2013 at 8:43 am

    fellow kenyans,can you stop being captives of tribalism and start living again Obama is not a kenyan but a world leader he lives and acts American.

    • Gabby

      May 21, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Oh really? Not when every office, home, car, wallet and space imaginable of some guys are bedecked in his image(s)………..

  4. ann kimemia

    May 21, 2013 at 9:07 am


  5. Thuku Wairimũ

    May 21, 2013 at 9:39 am

    That’s good news indeed. Actually, if he tagged along, I would be forced to take leave against my wishes because you just can’t move around. I need to work for Kenya to create strong institutions, not to stare at some president

  6. Gabby

    May 21, 2013 at 9:49 am

    A ‘cousin’ may fly to Dar to meet him there instead. The tears must be dry from the loss on 4th March…….

    • Bolingo

      May 21, 2013 at 11:35 am

      Gabby…………..nobody has refused any of your tribe from being a US hero, chieth!

      • Gabby

        May 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm

        …..’any of your tribe from being a US hero’…..

        Confirmed! Obama is YOUR tribesman and a hero to YOU! Oh my……. Maybe you could do with a little less ‘hero-worship’…. That’d do for the next 2 years before your ‘hero’ is impeached for Benghazi after the mid-terms in 2014 when the repubz take over the Senate!……..

  7. Bonk3

    May 21, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Obama has been in office close to 5 yrs, what has he done for Africa? Any tangible increase of trade between the USA and Kenya or Uganda for the last 5 yrs? Atleast the British are funding the education sector and Kenyans flower sector is well represented in EU, but which sector is Obama funding? Activism? Kenya is not in need of empty talk so please let him keep off.

    • Okwonkwo

      May 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      Do I detect a bit of colonial mentality? All this talk of British funding schools etc….Does your country live on charity and donations ? Where is your pride as an African??. Is this how Kenyans think? Hand outs?, Charity? And hero worshiping westerners?

    • OlePasiany

      May 23, 2013 at 6:06 am

      wait a minute. Do you have any clue of what you are talking about? Do you know how many Kenyans are working for the US defense forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, earning tax free USD? Shame on you.

      • Bonk3

        May 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm

        Kenyans have been working in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Japan, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Korea etc long time before Obama became the president of the USA.

  8. Bigbomb!

    May 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Kuna watu wa jamii fulani wanaumwaaa!!!pwahahahaha, tafuteni wenu pia akuwe president wa hiyi nchi. Gabby akiwa mmoja wao. No wonder hataki kupata jiggers

    • Gabby

      May 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Enda ukawe mkaaji wa ikulu ya jumba la White House. Unaweza pata kazi ya kuosha sufuria…….

  9. R.Deezy

    May 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    A visit to Kenya would mean him being met at the airport by Indicted suspects of crimes against humanity. That would be a major diplomatic blunder. Let the two clear their names first at the Hague then they can host a world leader…Just Saying!

  10. Guest

    May 23, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Jaluo ni jaluo tu, ata ikikaa ndani ya state house!

  11. OlePasiany

    May 23, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Jaluo ni jaluo tu, hata akikaa ndani ya white house!

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