Preview: England v Portugal

England’s quarter final against Portugal is being described as a tale of two coaches as Portugal’s sideline prowling conductor Luiz Felipe Scolari is compared with the mild mannered tactician Sven Goran Eriksson.

Excited? You bet

As has been widely reported, Scolari is attempting his third straight win over Eriksson in quarter finals after his Brazil side won in Japan and Portugal prevailed in Euro 2004.

With many fans and the press in England wanting to see more passion from the Swede who ends his well paid tenure at England at the end of their World Cup campaign and with Scolari knocking back the opportunity to be his successor, the two styles are under scrutiny.

But Eriksson sees it differently.

“I don’t feel it’s me against Scolari at all,” he told reporters.

“It’s England against Portugal, it’s the quarter-final of the World Cup, and it’s important to win it. I think we can.”

The former Lazio boss was even more direct when asked whether he is bothered by the unflattering comparisons to the Brazilian.

Nothing hanging over his head:Big PhilNothing hanging over his head:Big Phil

Nothing hanging over his head:
Big Phil

“I couldn’t care less,” he remarked.

“I’ve heard it for 30 years. Every time you lose a football game, something is wrong with the manager. I have no intention of changing. And if I haven’t changed by now then I probably never will.”

Pressure is on England and their so called “golden generation” with critics complaining that the side has been well below par so far in the tournament.

“It has to click, because we’re talking about the quarter-final of a World Cup, the biggest competition in the world.” England captain David Beckham said.
“If it doesn’t click now, we have to sit back and look at why it hasn’t done. There are certain times in games where we have come together for moments – that has to happen for the whole of the match.”

The side was hailed before the competition as England’s best chance since 1966 of winning the World Cup, yet while they have cruised to the quarter finals, their performances have hardly set the competition alight.


Eriksson has been drilling discipline into his side after witnessing Portugal’s last game which was officially the dirtiest World Cup Finals match on record.

However, the England coaching staff are expecting yet another card frenzy.

“I’m not afraid of the behaviour of Portugal’s footballers,” Eriksson said.

“I would be very surprised if there’s a problem. Portuguese football is not known as violent or unfair and I worked in that country for five years.           

“But we have to be careful. Four years ago you could do some tackles that you would get away with but today you don’t get away with anything.

Lovers, not fightersLovers, not fighters

Lovers, not fighters

“You get a yellow card for the smallest thing. So it’s important not to make bad tackles when you absolutely don’t need to do.”

Portugal are also still feeling the effects of the win over the Netherlands with midfielders Costinha and Deco suspended for the match and Cristiano Ronaldo still suffering from a thigh injury after a heavy challenge from Khalid Boulahrouz.

With a few surviving members from their own golden generation the Portuguese are attempting to reach the semifinals for the first time since 1966.

The 40 year drought will end for Portugal should they win, if England prevails they are another step closer to ending theirs.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies