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Exactly, they don't give a rat's ass about us. They want a rich country to win it. We are a nation of 10 million. Every other country that has a chance to win it has tens of millions, and some of the biggest economies in the world.

Don't believe me. How often do you see a player get his 2nd yellow card and an expulsion for walking off the field too slowly. Well as Portuguese followers, we all know that is exactly what happened to Rui Costa in Germany (Sept '97) in a crucial qualifier. Who can forget Conceicao waiting to come on but being held back once Rui was sent off. I know you'll never forget Rui Costa inconsolable on the sideline.

That whole mess was a fix, perpetrated by the Germans. Less than a year later in the WC the exact same referee (Frenchman Marc Batta) was in almost the exact same situation. That time it was more blatant. Romania led England 1-0 and was holding on for dear life. Hagi, already with a yellow card took his sweet ass time coming off all the way from Romania's net.
England tied it 1-1 but Romania hit back to win 2-1

Same ref, a more obvious time wasting situation, he didn't make the call. Hell, Portugal was not under pressure in Germany. We were winning and playing well.

We know why Germany was seeded in the Group Draws while Portugal and England were not. All Germany did is look at the previous method for seeding, saw it would benefit them and made then keep the same calculations. Even though they were total bull****.
 

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The most annoying part of my rant above is listening to people who think they know soccer say , "Why isn't Portugal in the World Cup?" and they would think we weren't good enough.

It was so frustrating watching WC 98 knowing that we were one of the best 8 in the world.

I don't know about you guys but all during WC 98 I watched all the games and imagined how PORTUGAL would do against the teams.
 

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You're proving my point. We gave away 2 points in Armenia, 2 in N Ireland (days after Sa Pinto smacked Jorge), we lost in Ukraine, tied at home against Germany although we dominated the 2nd half.

Even after all this we went to Germany and were robbed of our chance to make up for it. With that win we would have definitely been in the playoff. That win would have levelled us with GER at 21 pts. Ger would have taken goal differential. Ukraine had 20 points and lost to Croatia in the playoff. How did Croatia do at WC 98? I can't remember. :D

Hell, a month later on the day we beat N Ireland (Conceicao GOOOLLLL!!!!), Germany was having trouble wrapping things up against Albania. They only beat Albania 4-3 in Germany.

It's not how you get there. There are no style points, although during some of those qualifiers I wish there were. Who remembers that Italy, the GREAT ITALY :D had to play Russia in a playoff to qualify for WC 98.

Those of us who follow the game know that Germany was crumbling at that time. They were not replacing fading veterans with young players of the same calibre. Euro 96 was their last kick for a while.

This is why it was no shock to me when Germany crashed out in Euro 2000 (Conceicao GOOOOOOLLLLL!!!!!), even though the England and Germany were favoured by most of the so-called experts.

So in closing; countries like ours have to win convicingly. If we leave it close there can always be disputed calls (Xavier's hand ball) that make you wonder.... If it were reversed and Joao Pinto would have driven the ball at Lizerazu's hand would it have been a penalty? Hmmm.... interesting.
 
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