then, are the award-winning excerpts from “EURO 2000: PORTUGAL ARE A BUNCH OF WIMPS” by Graeme Souness, which
appeared in the News of the World on June 11, 2000:
you go back two years when Portugal came to Wembley, England won 3-0. In that
game Portugal had most of the possession but when England scored their second
they were left chasing.
are a typical Latin team - neat and tidy. They huff and puff a lot but they
don't cause much damage. They play a lot in areas where they can't hurt
keep the ball from their box up until halfway into your own half, but in the
final third of the pitch their problems really start to show. Historically,
ever since the days of Eusebio, they've never had anyone capable of scoring
goals at international level.
I went to Benfica I had about 40 players on my books and a dozen of them
wanted to play in the striking role just behind the front two.
like that everywhere in Portugal. Because of that they are limited to the way
they can play.
Costa can only play in that position for the national team. So they end up
playing with three defenders, two wing-backs and Costa playing in the 'no
responsibility' hole up front.
you ask me that is a cheating position - it's a position of no responsibility,
no running back and no tackling. They all want to play as the second striker.
There is no one who wants to take the responsibility of saying: 'I'm your
goalscorer, give me the ball and I'll put it in the back of the net'.
course they have some quality players. There is Barcelona's Luis Figo,
Fiorentina's Costa and Real Sociedad's Ricardo Sa Pinto.
And there's Joao Pinto, who was under my command at Benfica. But Pinto
is not a goal threat, he plays in areas that are easy to defend.
not really a goal supplier, either. He's very much an individual who catches
your eye because he's got a trick, but the end product is nowhere near enough.
Gomes was another player with me at Benfica who has a gift for scoring goals
in the Portuguese League. But I doubt his ability to transform that knack to
Benfica he is often in the right place at the right time to score, but he's
not very brave. Tony Adams will frighten him back to the halfway line."
case you've forgotten, Portugal--"left chasing" after England
took a two-goal lead--went on to "huff and puff a lot" in
"areas where they can't hurt you" to win 3-2.
the first time in five years an opponent scored more than two goals against
England, a feat accomplished by a team that
had "never had anyone capable of scoring
goals at international level."
Portugal's goals were scored by three different players on a team that had
"no one who wants to take the responsibility of saying: 'I'm your
goalscorer, give me the ball and I'll put it in the back of the
goal came from Figo's long-range shot, taken from an area "where they can't hurt you," their second
from Joao Pinto, who was "not a goal threat," and
their third from a courageous short-range effort, taken as Tony Adams lunged
in, by Nuno Gomes, whose international
goalscoring ability was doubtful and whom Adams would frighten "back to the
halfway line" because he was "not very brave."
We could go on at length, but suffice it to say it was England's defence that
was "frightened back," continually retreating in bewilderment from Portuguese
play in "areas where they can't hurt you," and it was Portuguese play in
"areas where they can't hurt you" that led to all three Portugal goals.