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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 06:59 GMT 07:59 UK
Maniche marvels at goal

Portugal goalscorer Maniche
Star midfielder Maniche dedicated his wonder goal to Portugal's fans after the hosts reached the Euro 2004 final.

Maniche curled in a superb shot past Edwin van der Saar as Portugal beat Holland 2-1 in the semis.

"I could only think about the numerous supporters who were cheering us on prior to the game, from our team's headquarters to the stadium," he said.

"I have scored great goals but this is probably one of the best that I have netted for the national team."

He added: "I could have crossed the ball but I opted to shoot. Seeing as Van der Sar is a tall goalkeeper, I knew that the only spot where he did not have a chance was the top corner and fortunately it went in."

Portugal brought to an end a run of four successive tournaments in which the host nation have exited the tournament at the semi-final stage.

This is a glorious moment for Portugal
Portugal midfielder Maniche

Maniche admitted he and his team-mates were not going to let history repeat itself.

"We were not prepared to suffer the same destiny," said Maniche.

"We knew of the significance that this win had for the team and for the whole nation.

"This is a glorious moment for Portugal, a dream come true.

"To reach a final in a tournament that we are hosting is a fantastic feeling.

"None of our past national teams have achieved what we have done and we are aware of the opportunity we have in our hands."





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