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XT Oldie
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Uh-oh :( ...Lemerre is doing to us what we did to England....and we all know the result of that game :)

Euro2000-Portugal are favourites, argues French coach
By Patrick Vignal



BRUSSELS, June 27 (Reuters) - Portugal should be regarded as the favourites for Wednesday's Euro 2000 semifinal against world champions France, French coach Roger Lemerre said on Tuesday.

``Portugal are in the last four because they have no weakness,'' Lemerre told a news conference. ``If there has to be a favourite, then it's Portugal because they reached the semifinals easily while he had to fight for it.''

France are the only team left in the tournament to have been defeated, losing 3-2 to the Netherlands in their final group match.

``Portugal advanced more smoothly with remarkable performances along the way, scoring many goals and conceding very few,'' said Lemerre.

The French coach said all his players, including defensive midfielder Emmanuel Petit, were fit to play but he did not drop any hints about his starting line-up.

Petit missed France's last two matches because of an injury to his left knee.

Striker Christophe Dugarry, who broke his nose in Sunday's 2-1 quarter-final victory against Spain, is also available.

Lemerre said he hoped for a fluent, exciting game between two teams praised for playing attractive football.

``Both teams rely on an exceptional generation of players and have very talented individuals,'' he said. ``I hope it will be an open game with plenty of goals.''

Lemerre, who took over from Aime Jacquet after the World Cup triumph two years ago, modestly suggested that coaching France was not that difficult.

``I have inherited a strong team,'' he said. ``They had just won and the atmosphere was simply ideal. My work has been very peaceful.''

The only slight problem, Lemerre added, was that everybody now badly wanted to beat France.

``The motivation of teams who play against us is obviously greater since we won the World Cup,'' he said. ``But so far the players have responded in a very positive way. Let's hope it will continue.''
 

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Portugal-France

He's trying to be humble and give our team credit.

He's not fooling anybody, however.

A win against France would put our country back at the center of the world, like it once was. At the moment, I can't think of something better for Portugal than this win.

Shucks...got go get a tissue...:)
 

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That's an old strategy. This is like saying, "they're beter than us, if they win it's only natural, we don't expect anything" It's a subtil way of trying to get the others nervous.
If the Portuguese players fell on that, they would feel the pressure to be on their side. But in fact, most see the favourites to be France, and expect THEM to win. So they are the ones who have more reasons to worry
 
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