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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
Portugal defiant after Uefa threats
Portugal
Portugal's players surround referee and linesman
Portugal's Dimas insists they should not face a Uefa rap for their angry exit from Euro 2000.

Uefa are investigating the scenes that followed Portugal's golden goal semi-final defeat against France.

Portugal's players surrounded linesman Igor Sranka - who spotted the handball offence that led to Zinedine Zidane's winning penalty - and Austrian referee Gunter Benko.

Dinas, however, believes Portugal should not face severe punishment and claims the players had a "right to protest."

The referee and linesman were confronted at close quarters by Portugal's players angry at the decision to award handball against Everton defender Abel Xavier.

Striker Nuno Gomes, who was shown the red card after the final whistle for his continued protests, is certain to be suspended from the start of Portugal's 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign.

And other players may also face sanctions if Uefa consider video evidence, although no announcement will be made by the governing body until Sunday.


Dimas
Dimas defies warning
The decision by the disciplinary committee has been delayed until after the end of their annual congress in Luxembourg, where high-ranking Portuguese FA official Gilberto Parca Madail is standing for election to their executive committee.

Strong reactions

Defender Dimas nevertheless insisted that their reaction to the penalty decision had been "normal", even if Uefa seemingly set something of a precedent in strong reactions with their earlier threat to throw England out if there was further hooliganism.

He said: "It was not a good example but when you want to reach the final so badly and make history like we wanted to, you tend to lose your mind.



When you want to make history so badly, you tend to lose your mind

Portugal's Dimas
"This linesman was against us for the whole game. There were three or four things that everyone saw and he didn't.

"You lose your mind because you see a guy with only one intention - to be against us. It was very bad for football with all this protesting but I think we had the right to protest. These people are spoiling the game."

He defended Xavier's part in the incident, explaining: "I don't think a player can cut off his arms when he slides along the ground.

"Even if it was his arm, I think the ball goes to his arm. The referee gave a corner and you didn't see many protests from the French side.

"Then suddenly you see the guy with his flag up and he's ready to say it's a penalty. It's bad for football and especially for us. We see the logo of Uefa fair play and then that happens."

Striker Sa Pinto added: "People must understand why we reacted like that. You can't imagine how much it hurts inside.

Effective conspiracy

"The dressing-room was horrible, very sad. I've never known anything like it at all. You feel every defeat but this one hurt more than all of the others."

Uefa face the added problem that Portugal are the hosts of the European Championships in 2004.



The dressing room was horrible, very sad.

Portugal's Sa Pinto
They do not have to qualify and cannot be banned from taking part and must expect at worst a heavy fine.


Portugal
Nuno Gomes faces ban
The controversial comments of the Portuguese players as they left the stadium could also be examined.

Players not only criticised the referee and linesman, but also claimed that Uefa had been party to an effective `conspiracy' against them.

Portugal certainly did not help their cause with outrageous claims that Uefa wanted them out of the competition.

Luis Figo insisted: "To go out like that is not right. There will be a lot of people who are happy now after what happened to us but the ones who are the most happy will be Uefa.

"We are a little country and it seems that a lot of people were interested in us not being in the final. Uefa wanted at least one of the big countries to be in the final.

"If it had happened in the French box, there wouldn't have been a penalty. I'd have preferred not to have played the game at all and just been told France had won 3-0 than to have gone through that."

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See also:

28 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Portugal coach resigns
29 Jun 00 | Fans Guide
Dignity in defeat?
29 Jun 00 | Portugal
Uefa delays decision on fracas
29 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Lemerre salutes 'great' referee
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