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The BBC's Ian Brown
"Confirmation this is the worst German side in living memory"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 20 June, 2000, 20:50 GMT 21:50 UK
Holders Germany suffer heavy defeat
Germany
Germany sit dejected at the end
Portugal 3-0 Germany
(Rotterdam - Att: 44,000)

A Sergio Conceicao hat-trick earned Portugal an emphatic victory over Germany despite fielding their second string having already qualified for the Euro 2000 quarter-finals.

It was only what the Portuguse deserved as they were clearly the best side in what was otherwise a rather ordinary group.

On a disastrous night for the Germans, they finished bottom of the group with just one point after another dismal display.

Portugal, who had already won the group, will play Turkey in the quarter-finals on Saturday in Amsterdam.
Joao Pinto
Joao Pinto: not needed by his side

The Germans bowed out after their worst overall performance in a major tournament since the war, leaving for home with two defeats and one draw.

They had never before failed to win a single match at a European Championship finals.

The defending champions' fate had already slipped out of their own hands as to make the last eight, they had to beat Portugal and hope Romania would defeat England by scoring fewer goals.

Germany had to do without regular starters Christian Ziege, Jens Jeremies and Markus Babbel, who were all injured.

Portugal left Luis Figo and many of its other big name players out of Tuesday's match with Germany, safe in the knowledge that it has won Group A regardless of the final game's result.

Sergio Conceicao was standing just off the goal-line when he headed home from a precise Pauleta cross to put Portugal in the lead in the 36th minute.

Swerving

The Lazio player hit his side's second goal with a swerving left-foot drive from some 20 metres which bounced under Germany keeper Oliver Kahn's body in the 54th minute.

He saved his best for last, completing his hat-trick in the 71st minute with a superb effort from just inside the area which left Kahn no chance.

The landmark 150th international appearance of Lotthar Matthaeus was also the saddest possible international exit for the 39-year-old veteran.

Karsten Jancker, with his imposing length was the only danger for the Portuguese defense, but then again, the Bayern Munich striker lacked speed to impress. He also lacked vision.


Dietmar Hamann
Dietmar Hamann battles in vain against Portugal

In the 30th minute, Jancker went for goal himself and saw his shot blocked when a simple one-two with young Sebastian Deisler would have been the best option.

From then on the German defensive lapses came hard and fast.

Conceicao has been burning with frustration at being kept on the bench and the Lazio winger's performance was a delight.

He scored two splendid individual goals after sprints down the wing after heading home his first after a perfect pass from forward Pauleta.

In the 69th minute later, it was an action replay, same Conceicao, same leaden defending, same low shot. Germany were 3-0 down.

Portugal: Espinha (Quim 90), Costa, Jorge, Couto, Sousa (Vidigal 72), Sa Pinto, Conceicao, Costinha, Beto, Pauleta (Gomes 67), Capucho.

Germany: Kahn, Rehmer, Linke, Bode, Nowotny, Scholl (Haessler 59), Matthaus, Ballack (Rink 45), Hamann, Deisler, Jancker (Kirsten 69).

Referee: D Jol (Holland)

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See also:

21 Jun 00 | Photo Gallery
Germany v Portugal: in pictures
18 Jun 00 | Germany
Ribbeck hints he might step down
17 Jun 00 | Portugal
Figo wants to stay with Barcelona
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