Tragic ending for Scolari

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Luiz Felipe Scolari ended his five and a half years as Portugal coach with frustration feeling as he saw his side lost 3-2 to Germany in the first quarter-final of Euro 2008.

He failed to fulfill his promise to bring Portugal into the semi-finals of Euro 2008.

Germany took advantage of Portugal's mistakes in defence to claim their place in the semi-finals.

It will be Germany's first semi-final since its triumph in Euro 1996, and the first time Portugal failed to progress into the semifinals in the last three major international tournaments.

Scolari, as he had announced before, fielded the side that had beaten Czech Republic and Turkey in their opening two matches.

Germany, in contrast, presented a new look for the match, with Bastian Schweinsteiger returned from suspension to play on the with Tomas Hitzlsperger on the left flank.

Simon Rolfes took the holding role in the absence of the injured Torsten Frings.

Lukas Podolski was pushed forward to partner Miroslav Klose and dropped the disappointing Mario Gómez.

The Germans went ahead in the 22nd minute following a brilliant team move, a one-two with Michael Ballack sent Podolski clear on the left and he crossed low to the near post where Schweinsteiger got ahead of marker Paulo Ferreira to slide in from six yards.

Four minutes later, Germany extended their lead thru Klose.

More poor defending left the Bayern Munich striker totally unmarked from a Schweinsteiger free-kick and he headed home with ease.

It was his first goal in the tournament and his 40th for his country.

Portugal got back into the match five minutes before half time as Deco started a counter-attack deep in Portuguese territory with a long ball forward to Simão.

The ball was quickly switched to Cristiano Ronaldo whose shot was blocked by Jens Lehmann but Nuno Gomes turned in the loose ball to cut the Germans' advantage.

But Germany extended their lead on the hour mark.

Another defensive error combined with poor goalkeeping allowed Ballack headed home past the badly positioned Ricardo after a free-kick from Schweinsteiger.

But the Portuguese side felt Ballack should have been penalised for a push on Paulo Ferreira.

The introduction of Manchester United's Nani for the last ten minutes brought in some spirit into the Portuguese side as he built Portugal's second goal.

With three minutes left, Nani provided a perfect cross which left fellow substitute Hélder Postiga with a powerful header past Lehmann.

The Portuguese now threw everyone forward looking for a late equaliser, but their best efforts could not find a way past Germany resolute defence.

Germany held out through four minutes of injury time with relative ease.

Scolari's worst pre-match fears were all realised as their dreadful defending and goalkeeping contributed to all goals in Ricardo's net. Portugal defending was woeful at those set-pieces.

The Brazilian, who led Portugal to the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup, admitted that the failure of their defensive system was the beginning of their elimination.

It was not a pleasant goodbye to Scolari as He now leaves Selecção to take charge of Chelsea.

Scolari also dismissed a suggestion that the announcement of his departure may have influenced his side.

Germany became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals and will play either Croatia or Turkey in the last four.

The Germans finally lived up the expectations they are serious contenders to grab the European Championship title from Greece.

Portugal2 - 3Germany
Nuno Gomes 40Bastian Schweinsteiger 22
Hélder Postiga 87Miroslav Klose 26
Michael Ballack 61

Portugal: 1-Ricardo; 4-José Bosingwa, 15-Pepe, 16-Ricardo Carvalho, 2-Paulo Ferreira; 10-João Moutinho (6-Raul Meireles 31), 8-Petit (23-Hélder Postiga 73), 20-Deco; 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 21-Nuno Gomes (19-Nani 67), 11-Simão
Germany: 1-Jens Lehmann; 3-Arne Friedrich, 17-Per Mertesacker, 21-Christoph Metzelder, 16-Philipp Lahm; 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger (4-Clemens Fritz 83), 6-Simon Rolfes, 13-Michael Ballack, 15-Thomas Hitzlsperger (18-Tim Borowski 73); 11-Miroslav Klose (2-Marcell Jansen 89), 20-Lukas Podolski
Referee: Peter Frojdfeldt (Sweden)

Shots on target :6-5
Shots off target :12-6
Ball possession (%) :57-43
Corner kicks :8-3
Offsides :2-2
Fouls :11-15
Yellow cards :3-2
Red cards :0-0

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1 comment

Comment Author Avatar
June 26, 2008 3:52 PM Delete
This is a match that Paolo Ferreira and goalkeeper Ricardo would want to forget. I agree that Nani gave me and other Portugal fans some hope that Portugal could have drawn the game at least.

Why did Scolari put him in so late? I say Bravo to Helder Postiga. Coming in as a substitute, big match, the match of their careers and scored in the 1st goal occasion he had. He has a case for being the forward in the starting lineup instead of Nuno Gomes.