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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 June, 2004, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Euro 2004 diary
By Phil McNulty and Paul Fletcher
Our men in Portugal

Sven-Goran Eriksson
"No comment"
Television viewers back in England may be forgiven for wondering if the battle-hardened English media have come over all soft and cuddly if they catch the media conferences conducted by Sven-Goran Eriksson and his players.

For instance, Liverpool's Steven Gerrard was on the stage on Wednesday in the build-up to the Euro 2004 quarter-final with Portugal in Lisbon.

Given that fact it is now regarded as an inevitability that Gerrard will stun the Kop and leave for Chelsea in a 30m-plus deal after Euro 2004, watchers could be forgiven for wondering why he was not being grilled about his intentions.

The answer is simple - the Football Association stresses that while on England business, no club matters or transfer speculation are to be discussed and the conference proceeds on that basis.

It shields the players from awkward questions - and leaves Liverpool and Chelsea fans on tenterhooks waiting for the next move in what will be the biggest (or perhaps second biggest?) deal of the summer.


The latest rumour doing the rounds in Portugal inevitably centres on the boy wonder of Euro 2004, Everton's Wayne Rooney.

Everton manager David Moyes has once again stated that Rooney will be going nowhere - at least until someone tells him differently.

The word in Lisbon is that Manchester United will test that with an offer that could be up to 20m in cash, plus Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Nicky Butt and AN Other - which may have to be Ruud van Nistelrooy to bump the deal up to Everton's 50m valuation.

It's a story that has been doing the rounds in recent weeks, but steadfastly refuses to go away and has been whispered again in the last 24 hours.

Chelsea are also stirring after a delegation watched Rooney's destruction of Croatia - but Everton's stance is still a stubborn one.


The Portuguese press carried a story the other day about Wayne Rooney's current value in the transfer market.

With his blistering displays so far at Euro 2004, the teenager's price just keeps going up and up.

According to the newspaper Everton's presidente David Moyenes is quoting no less than 50m for his striker.

It remains to be seen whether the ginger-topped Scot is aware of his name change.


The Holland and Latvia players emerged from their dressing rooms after their match on Wednesday holding small plants.

The players looked somewhat embarrassed by their sudden horticultural acquisitions, given to them by the people of Braga.

Holland winger Boudewijn Zenden was just one of many mystified players.

"It seems to be a Portuguese thing and apparently it brings luck," he explained.

Not for Latvia it didn't.


Certain parts of Porto are bewildering for the first-time visitor, with lots of tight cobbled streets and a conspicuous lack of street names.

Having wandered around aimlessly for what seemed like ages, this particular journalist decided the best option was to take a taxi.

The taxi driver raised his eyebrows when the destination was given but duly set off.

Having just hit second gear and travelled all of 300 yards, the cab driver pulled over at the desired destination and drove off four euros happier.





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