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Portugal have had a reputation of being underachievers, but the current side were very close to finally showing the rest of the world what they are capable of.
Under the stewardship of coach Humberto Coelho Portugal qualified for the finals as best runners up to Euro 2000 group rivals Romania.

They opened up their campaign against England and within twenty minutes they found themselves two goals down with first Paul Scholes and then Steve McManaman scoring from David Beckham crosses.

Portugal drew level before half time, with a stunning goal from Luis Figo and Benfica striker Joao Pinto’s superb glancing header.

Nuno Gomes scored the winning goal, his first for his country just after the break to give the Portuguese a memorable win.

In the second game Portugal faced Romania, who had beaten them en-route to the finals, but Portugal gained revenge with an injury time goal from Costinha to ensure qualification for the next round.

Already through, the Portuguese fielded a rather weakened side in their final group game against Germany but still thrashed the demoralised Germans 3-0 courtesy of a brilliant hat trick from Lazio winger Sergio Conceicao.

In the quarter finals they played surprise qualifiers Turkey in an ill tempered game at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Turkish defender Alpay Ozalan was sent off for aiming a punch at Fernando Couto, despite not actually connecting, before Nuno Gomes put Portugal ahead just before half time.

The Turkish had a chance to draw level almost immediately when they won a penalty, but Arif Erdem saw his kick saved by Vitor Baia.

Gomes put the game beyond Turkey with his second goal in the second half after good work by Luis Figo down the right.

The semi final was a repeat of the corresponding 1984 fixture, with Portugal seeking revenge for their defeat then to France.

Benfica striker Gomes scored his fourth goal of the tournament to give Portugal an early lead, but Thierry Henry hit the equaliser for France in the second half.

Neither team could find a winner in normal time so the game went into extra time for the first time in the championship.

The match was decided on a controversial moment when referee Gunter Benko awarded France a penalty for handball against Portuguese defender Abel Xaiver.

The decision sparked a furious reaction from the Portuguese players and they had to be restrained from confronting the referee.

After all the furore had settled down, French midfield star Zinedine Zidane scored the penalty to send the world champions through on the golden goal.

Portugal coach Humberto Coelho resigned after the game and whoever replaces him will have a hard job to match his success.

In the World Cup qualifiers, the Portuguese face a battle to get through with Holland, the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus, Estonia and Andorra in their
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