Or was the loss just because the Portuguese have a very dodgy keeper? Sure enough, Ricardo might be able to save (and score) a penalty or two, but his team’s inability to defend simple set pieces meant there was very little chance of Thursday night’s match going to a penalty shoot-out in order for him to strut his stuff.
Nevertheless, there will be many arguing that it was virtually impossible for Phil Scolari and his Portuguese squad not to be distracted by Chelsea’s announcement that the Brazilian was to become the new manager at the Bridge. It took place on Saturday night, coinciding with Portugal’s 2-0 win against Turkey, and although the Blues then tried to dumb things down, had the damage already been done. Scolari doesn’t think so, according to the good old Daily Record.
He said: “If I hadn’t announced it we would have lost anyway. We lost because we didn’t do things with enough quality.
“I am responsible for choosing the players and putting them on the field in certain places so the person most responsible for Portugal not being in the last four is the Portugal coach.”
Indeed, surely Scolari won’t persist with Paolo Ferreira when it comes to picking the Chelsea team, who looked woefully out of his depth throughout the tournament. He might actually have been heartened last night by the performance of Michael Ballack, who he will hope can boss the midfield in a similar fashion next season. However, the fact remains that this announcement could have waited until Portugal’s Euro 2008 had ended.