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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 June, 2004, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Helping out Sven
By Tom Fordyce

Your country needs you.

Not in midfield, thankfully - not with your lack of pace and wayward distribution.

No, your role in England's preparations for the quarter-final is much simpler....


...stick on that stinking pair of pants that you were wearing for Monday's win over Croatia.

Sure, they might be a touch ripe after absorbing an entire day of sweat and stains and then maturing in the dirty clothes basket for three days under a damp towel.

But what the hell - they're lucky, and you'll have a pair of trousers between them and the outside world.


...sit where you were sitting when Zinedine Zidane got busy with the dead ball 11 days ago.

It doesn't matter if this means moving the sofa into the kitchen, ceding your armchair to the old dear from across the road or knocking down a major weight-bearing wall in the boozer.

Just move. Otherwise it's a worse omen than the sight of Big Emile trundling back to help out the lads on the edge of the penalty area.


Jon Bon Jovi
He's a cowboy - on a steel horse he rides

...stay calm if England go a goal down.

That win over Croatia is proof that the 2004 version of Sven's army is more than capable of reversing a deficit, given enough time.

When fear of defeat threatens to throttle you, take solace in the words of the man who wrote the rule-book on hurtin' bad - Mr Jon Bon Jovi.

"Don't let your love turn to hate," he famously rasped - "right now, we got to keep the faith."

Amen to that.


...bemoan the fact that England aren't playing Greece instead.

Look, it would have been nice to have topped the group and had Otto Rehhagel's men in the way of the semis rather than the Portuguese.

But it didn't happen. So let's get on with it, shall we?

(Memo to self: remember to check for French lineage first thing Friday morning.)


...remind yourself of 26 July 1966, the day England beat Portugal 2-1 at Wembley in the World Cup semi-final.

The goals that day came from a marauding midfielder with a shortage of hair - surely a happy omen for Steven Gerrard, even if that barnet comparison with Bobby Charlton does him no favours.


...recall either 3 June 1986, when Portugal won the World Cup group game in Monterrey 1-0, or 12 June 2000, when Kevin Keegan's men blew a 2-0 lead to Luis Figo's lot and crashed to a woeful 3-2 defeat.

So what if Figo is the joint leader on the all-time list of most assists in European Championships finals history? The other man at the top of the list is David Beckham.

And, overall, England have won nine of their matches against Portugal - and lost only three.


King Charles II
King Charles II - probably not a photo of the actual chap

...dwell for a moment on the happy historical relationship between the two countries.

Did you know, for example, that it was Portugal's Catherine of Braganza who introduced tea and marmalade to England when she came over to marry Charles II in 1661, or that part of her dowry was the city of Bombay?

Blimey - if it hadn't been for the Portuguese, you would be living in a country without cuppas or curry!

God bless them all...


...bother with the finer details of that marriage - like the fact that Charles later complained that the Portuguese had sent him "a bat instead of a woman".

Sadly, Charles would rather have been with anyone else than his Porto princess.

He fathered 14 illegitimate children with his various mistresses but failed to convert once with Catherine, and in general preferred the company of his spaniels to the wife.

Puts the whole Rebecca Loos thing in perspective, doesn't it?


... bone up on the "silver goal" action.

If it goes to extra time, here's what you need to know:

If a team scores a goal in the first period of extra time, play continues until the first period is complete and if one team leads, they win the match.

If it is still level at the end of the first period, the second period will be played to its end and if scores are still level, there will be a penalty shootout.

Talking of which...

DON'T... your head in with worry if it goes to penalties.

Why, England have nothing to fear - they have David Beckham, and he never misses penal... oh.

Well, what about Michael Owen? He's been brilliant from the spot for Liverpool all seaso... hmmm.

Heck, at least there's Steven Gerrard - he definitely scored the last penalty he too... oh yeah.

Any chance Steve McClaren might be allowed to take one?

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