Countdown to kick-off

Last updated at 16:50 24 June 2004

Up to 40,000 England fans are expected to be in Portugal tonight to watch their side take on the host nation in their crucial Euro 2004 quarter-final.

Ahead of the 7.45pm kick-off, here is our comprehensive guide to the England v Portugal showdown.


England v Portugal, 7.45pm June 24 , Lisbon

England booked their place in the final eight after an inspired 4-2 win against Croatia. Portugal, who have improved with every game, finally progressed to the quarter-finals after seeing off Spain with a 1-0 victory.

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England: Sven-Goran Eriksson transformed the team's fortunes, taking them from the bottom of their 2002 World Cup qualifying group to the quarter-finals in Korea and Japan. The Swedish coach then led them unbeaten through qualification for Euro 2004.

Portugal: Despite being one of Brazil's most successful club managers, Luiz Felipe Scolari has often been criticised for the aggressive style of play his teams tend to employ, with some observers even suggesting that he encourages his players to win at all costs. However, the success he has enjoyed in his career vindicates his approach and shrewd tactical nature.

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England: Michael Owen is a prolific scorer for both club and country and is one of the most recognisable figures in world football.

Possessing blistering pace and an unerring eye for goal, he first made an impact at the 1998 World Cup when, as an 18-year-old, he scored one of the goals of the tournament against Argentina.

Owen has come in for criticism after failing to score in the group phase while strike partner Wayne Rooney has lit up the tournament and already has four goals to his name.

Rooney made history on his international debut by becoming England's youngest ever player at 17 years and 111 days.

Then, at 17 years and 317 days, he became the youngest player to score a senior goal for his country when he struck the equaliser in the 2-1 away win against Macedonia.

Portugal: Nuno Gomes, who scored the winner against Spain, is likely to lead the line as Pauleta is suspended. He scored his first senior international goal in Portugal's victory over England in their opening match of Euro 2000 but later earned a seven-month ban after pushing referee Gunter Benko following the semi-final defeat by France.

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England v Portugal forwards head-to-head


England: Sol Campbell has become one of the most accomplished defenders of recent generations and is a permanent fixture in the national team's defence. Immensely strong and quick, he is a dominating presence with tremendous aerial ability.

Eriksson's preferred choice as Campbell's partner in central defence is Chelsea captain John Terry, who missed the first game of Euro 2004 through injury.

Terry is one of the brightest prospects in England and is considered a powerful central defender who dominates in the air and on the ground, and is tipped as a future captain of his country.

Portugal: Jorge Andrade is blessed with good passing skills and a cool temperament and can play either in central defence or as a midfield anchorman, although it is in the former position that he has impressed with Deportivo La Coruqa.

Andrade is a regular fixture for Portugal following his debut in a friendly against France in April 2001.

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Portugal's key players


The teams last met in a friendly in Faro in February this year, where the game ended 1-1.

Both sides played effective, attacking football and will be fully aware of the difficult task they face to win the Euro 2004 quarter-final.

England went ahead on 48 minutes through defender Ledley King but lost the initiative somewhat, unable to retain consistent possession. It was in the middle of this period that Portugal drew level with a fabulous strike from Pauleta.

Overall, England have the edge, winning nine of the 20 games they have played against Portugal and losing only three.

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England v Portugal past encounters


It may have been open but it was not friendly when the teams met in Faro earlier this year and England can expect more of the same.

England will face a loud and passionate crowd when they take on Portugal but they are the one team in the competition who have enough support to rival the hosts.

With both countries' star names - Figo and Beckham - yet to hit top form, it may be the stage they need to produce the goods. Too close to call so expect a draw at full-time and Portugal maybe to edge it, possibly on penalties.

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