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Portugal and its long history of World Cup messes
by Paul Kennedy, June 20th, 2014 2:06AM

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TAGS:  portugal, world cup 2014

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[BRAZIL 2014] Portugal's embarrassing performance in its opening game of the World Cup against Germany when it lost, 4-0, and had defender Pepe sent off for head-butting Thomas Mueller was the latest incident that has marred its participation at the World Cup. The Portuguese finished third in 1966 and fourth in 2006 -- both times in Europe -- but the other times ...

CASO SALTILLO (1986). The Portuguese traveled to Mexico for the 1986 World Cup to discover that its training center in Saltillo was in poor shape. The only good thing about the arrangements, apparently, was that prostitutes had free access to their hotel.

The players went on strike to seek larger bonuses and then trained with their jerseys inside out to hide the names of the team's sponsors. Portugal opened Mexico 1986 with a 1-0 win over England but that was not enough to see it through to the round of 16 -- even when four of six third-place teams advanced -- as it lost to Poland, 1-0, and Morocco, 3-1.

In the aftermath of the strike, eight players were suspended, but the other 14 members of the World Cup team signed a solidarity pact, refusing to play. (That didn't include Antonio Veloso, who was suspended shortly before leaving for Mexico after he tested positive for steroids.)

USA-PORTUGAL (2002). History repeated itself as Portugal's "Golden Generation" headed to South Korea with all sorts of controversy. It had another player suspended for failing a doping test, Daniel Kenedy, and its preparations were poor. It lost a friendly to Finland, 4-1, in Porto in March and held its pre-tournament camp in steamy Macao, where the Portuguese media claimed players spent more time at the casinos and shopping than at training.

The opening match in Suwon will go down as one of the greatest moments in the history of the U.S. national team and utter humiliation for Portugal, a pre-tournament favorite loaded with stars like the great Luis Figo. The Americans jumped out to a 3-0 lead after 36 minutes and held on for a 3-2. win.



SOUTH KOREA-PORTUGAL (2002). Portugal was still in contention for a berth in the round of 16 after recovering from the Suwon debacle with a 2-0 win over Poland. If the USA lost its final match to Poland, all Portugal needed to do was tie South Korea in Incheon to join the hosts in the next round and eliminate the USA.

The Poles, already eliminated, did their part in Daejon, jumping out a 2-0 lead after five minutes en route to a 3-1 win. But no one on their bench told the Portuguese players what was going on in the U.S. match and Joao Pinto in the 27th minute and Beto in the 66th minute were sent off. Playing with only nine players, Portugal finally conceded a goal to Park Ji-Sung and went out with a 1-0 defeat.

The next day U.S. coach Bruce Arena apologized for being late to the daily media conference in Seoul. "I spent the morning shopping for Park Ji-Sung," he joked.



QUEIROZ SUSPENSION. Another pre-tournament camp was racked by controversy as three agents from the Portuguese anti-doping authority (ADoP) showed up by surprise at Portugal's training center in Covilha early one morning in May 2010, and Coach Carlos Queiroz, the former MetroStars coach and current Iran coach, protested against waking up his sleeping players, telling the agents in graphic language where their president, Luis Horta, could go and take their tests on Horta's mother.

For the rest of the preparations for South Africa 2010, the players and coaching staff were at odds with the federation staff. Portugal reached the second round but fell to Spain. Afterward, Cristiano Ronaldo blamed Queiroz's tactics for the loss, and the ADoP went after the coach for disrupting its testing.

Queiroz was suspended for six months but appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which overturned the suspension, finding he had not interfered in the testing procedure. But he did not dispute the finding that as he was walking away "he uttered some very distasteful and sexually descriptive comments regarding the mother of the ADoP president." By then, he had been fired by Portugal following a 1-0 loss to Norway in Euro 2012 qualifying.


1 comment
  1. Valerie Metzler
    commented on: June 20, 2014 at 10:15 a.m.
    Keep hope alive!


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