England must beware the danger signs

Last updated at 12:30 24 June 2004

England take on Portugal in Lisbon for a place in the semi-finals at Euro 2004 tonight.

Here, we look at some of the factors in Portugal's favour that England must beware:

Cristiano Ronaldo

Needs no introduction to England after finishing his first season with Manchester United in good form. Has impressed throughout the tournament and looked dangerous after earning his first start against Spain.

A tricky player who looks to be getting better all the time. Along with Deco, is perhaps the most dangerous threat.

'Golden generation'

It is said the likes of Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Fernando Couto are coming to the twilight of their careers. This may be true, but they remain fine players and they do not want to waste what could be their last shot at glory in front of their own fans.

Nuno Gomes

England have come across this character in a European Championship finals before. Gomes was the man who grabbed the winner as Portugal fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in the opening game of Euro 2000.

Gomes has maybe not gone on to reach the heights expected of him since, but he is still a dangerous customer, as he showed by coming off the bench to score the winning goal against Spain on Sunday.


England dominated in all areas against Croatia but their midfield four is still not a perfect unit. David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes may be the best four available but they do not necessarily lend themselves to a flat midfield. There is certainly a lack of natural width, which the likes of Figo could exploit.


England have defended well so far in the tournament but have shown fallibility from crosses, conceding two straightforward goals from free-kicks against Croatia. England have the height with Sol Campbell and John Terry but they need to organise their structure better to defend set-pieces.

The coach - Luiz Felipe Scolari

'Big Phil' is an experienced coach who has put one over on England and Sven-Goran Eriksson before, at the last World Cup. Then Brazil boss, Scolari coaxed enough out of his side to recover from a 1-0 deficit in the quarter-finals. He will be aware of England's shortcoming and will have a plan on how to take advantage.

Portugal's home advantage

England have enjoyed great support so far in Portugal but their fans will be in the minority as they tackle the hosts in the capital. It will be a difficult atmosphere for Eriksson's side to play in and they will need to silence the crowd.

Big game temperament

Portugal may not have played a competitive fixture in the two years leading up to the tournament and they may have looked rusty in their opening day defeat to Greece.

But by beating neighbours Spain in a passionate encounter in their final group game, they have proved they have the temperament to cope with the big occasion.

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