Football: Euro 2004: HERE FIGO HERE FIGO HERE FIGO; Luis Rules as Dick's Dream Dies; Portugal 2 Holland 1

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), July 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

Football: Euro 2004: HERE FIGO HERE FIGO HERE FIGO; Luis Rules as Dick's Dream Dies; Portugal 2 Holland 1


Byline: By Keith Jackson

PORTUGAL will awake to yet another hangover this morning and the feeling that this hazy, crazy summer may never end.

For Holland manager Dick Advocaat, though, the party is over and it is time to go home and face the music. Big time.

Luiz Felipe Scolari and his men got the better of Advocaat and his talented but temperamental players and no one in orange can have any complaints.

The host nation were too strong and too slick for the Dutch, who only briefly caused any kind of anxiety on a night when all of Portugal was already on edge.

But they can relax now. From a disastrous start when they lost to Greece a team that could yet challenge them for ultimate glory they have made it all the way to the last day of what has been a fantastic tournament .

One question remains for the Portugal team can they pass the final test?

And one question remains also for the Portugal fans can their livers hold out until Sunday when the final takes place.

Drink has been taken and plenty of it as the tournament has turned into one long red-and-green party.

The bookies think Portugal will be on the winner's rostrum come Sunday they rate them 4-6 favourites and, as weknow, these gentlemen are seldom wrong.

But while Big Phil Scolari begins to plot his tactics for that match, Advocaat will be making the long, lonely trip home to Holland, wondering exactly what awaits him back there.

He, too, was pretty close to something great but in the end Holland cameup short.

In fact, the solitary goal that Advocaat's all-stars could manage came from the boot of Portuguese defender, Jorge Andrade, and that fact will surely see the manager come under yet another barrage whenhe steps off the team plane.

Andrade's blunder came after golden boy Cristiano Ronaldo and Maniche whose second-half strike was something very special had fired Portugal 2-0 ahead.

They had one or two anxious moments as Holland launched a series of late aerial assaults but managed to hold out.

And so the home fans emptied back out on to the streets of this city for yet another long, long night of unconfined joy.

They could get used to this, you know.

By the time this ground had filled up the Dutch freshly squeezed into a corner of orange, all other areas packed with the Portuguese we were sitting in a melting pot of colour and noise with a whiff of magic in the air.

It seemed like magic, although it might have been something else wafting over from the Dutch end because, when Advocaat's name was announced, this lot cheered like they never had before.

But had the Dutch really learned to love the Little General at long last?We were about to find out.

Advocaat's biggest decision was to drop Andy van der Meyde and start Marc Overmars on the right.

The Barcelona man almost carved out a chance within three minutes when he ran at Portugal's defence and sent a ball across the 18-yard line that Edgar Davids came close to catching full on the volley. Davids, though, could not quite adjust in time and the chance was gone.

Less than two minutes later, Deco had the home fans out of their seats when his slippery cross almost slithered all the way to the bottom corner of Edwin van der Sar's net but this giant of a keeper wrapped his spade-like hands around it at the second attempt.

It was tense, cagey and a little too stuffy but every now and then a player of real class would come steaming out of the congestion and heighten the hysteria still further.

Often it would be Arjen Robben, who would make ground down the left, but most of the time the man who made the hairs stand on end was Luis Figo.

It took a remarkable stretch by Wilfred Bouma to keep Pauleta out after Figo had darted in behind Holland's defence.

The home supporters reacted to this by chanting their talisman's name but two minutes later it was the young pretender, Ronaldo, who had stolen their hearts again, slipping unnoticed into the six-yard box to connect with Deco's corner and head his team into the lead and a nation into delirium. …

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