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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Euro 2004 diary
By Phil McNulty and Paul Fletcher
Our men in Portugal

Singer Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn had little to sing about at the end of the match
England's Euro 2004 quarter-final against Portugal in Lisbon's magnificent Stadium of Light brought the stars out in force to support Sven-Goran Eriksson's men.

Spotted buying a drink at a stall was Blur front man Damon Albarn, taking time out from his music to join in the carnival atmosphere before the game.

And also seen in Lisbon was Eastenders star Sid "Ricky" Owen, gearing up for the big game with a bag of chips.

But the most glittering and spectacular of all arrived last, in the unmistakeable form of former Portugal, Everton and Liverpool defender Abel Xavier.

Dear old Abel made a stunning entrance, with what looked like a length of peroxide Axminster carpet weaved on to his head.

He was spotted by his former Portugal team-mates - it's almost impossible to miss him - and was quickly exchanging waves and pleasantries as they warmed up.

Abel was seen getting into the spirit of celebration as the host country clinched victory over England on penalties.

England's departure from their Lisbon hotel means guests will finally see a bit more of the swimming pool.

Use had been strictly limited when Becks and the boys decided to go for a dip and security has understandably been tight around the England team.

But guests are expected to enjoy a bit more freedom once the team fly home after a final media briefing on Friday.

Portugal legend Eusebio emerged from a pack of celebrating back-room staff to take a stately stroll on to the pitch at his beloved Stadium of Light.

He starred in the town for Benfica and was quick to join in the joyous scenes after the win against England.

Eusebio moves at a slower pace these days, but remains a charismatic figure and a sporting icon in Portugal.

Denmark winger Jesper Gronkjaer is giving little away as to where he will be playing next season.

Currently at Chelsea, Birmingham's website recently reported it had agreed a fee for the 26-year-old.

But speaking after his team's 2-2 draw with Sweden, Gronkjaer kept his cards close to his chest.

"I'm not commenting on that until this tournament is finished," he politely told BBC Sport.

Latvia midfielder Vitalijs Astafjevs has won more than 100 caps for his country.

During a lengthy playing career the 34-year-old spent several seasons at Bristol Rovers.

And after his team's elimination from Euro 2004 he had a special message for all Rovers fans.

"You tell them that I enjoyed it very much in Bristol and make sure you say a big hello!"

Links to more Euro 2004 stories


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15 Jun 04  |  Euro 2004
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14 Jun 04  |  Euro 2004
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13 Jun 04  |  Euro 2004
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12 Jun 04  |  Euro 2004


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