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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Scolari ruffles feathers
BIG PHIL'S ROLL OF HONOUR
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari
Gremio coach: Copa Brasil, Libertadores Cup, Brazilian championship
Palmeiras coach: Copa Mercosur, Copa Brasil, Libertadores Cup
Brazil coach: 2002 World Cup
Like England, Euro 2004 hosts Portugal turned to an outsider to revive the international team's fortunes.

Whereas Sven-Goran Eriksson's success had been in club football, Portugal employed a man who had already won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's appointment was widely welcomed in Portugal, but since arriving he has not been afraid to ruffle feathers in his adopted country.

His decision to pick Porto midfielder Deco initially caused uproar.

Deco, Brazilian-born but resident in Portugal since he was 17, became a Portuguese citizen at Scolari's request and scored on his debut against Brazil.

But his arrival in the squad upset Portugal's veterans like Luis Figo and Rui Costa, though Scolari bluntly ignored their complaints.

"Anyone who does not want to play with Deco need not turn up," said the former Brazilian coach just before the game with Brazil in March 2003.

Scolari has also antagonised Porto and their supporters, a team that has already won the Portuguese league and has done so well in the Champions League this season.

Porto goalkeeper is Vitor Baia, but Scolari has preferred to use Sporting Lisbon's Ricardo Pereira, arguing he is the better keeper, even though he has been in poor form of late.

Another worry for Scolari is whether veterans like Figo, Costa and defender Fernando Couto can survive the intensity of an international tournament like Euro 2004.

Porto's Portuguese international midfielder Deco
Deco scored on his international debut against Brazil

"Costa and Figo may not be able to withstand the pressure of the tournament," Alberto da Silva of Portuguese newspaper A Bola told BBC Sport.

"Scolari may have to bring in the new players like Cristiano Ronaldo, and Benfica's Miguel and Tiago.

"Costa and Figo are tired players. They have given everything they have to both club and country. It all depends on how the tournament goes in the first games."

Not that Scolari, who once criticised his Palmeiras team for not committing enough fouls in the second half, is all stick and no carrot.

Before that 2-1 win over Brazil, he played traditional Portuguese fado music to a samba beat on the team bus to relax his team.

"He has profound knowledge, good discipline and is very fair. He has a great character," said da Silva.

Porto's success has surprised Europe this season, but Portugal are a very different animal from Jose Mourinho's team.

"I don't think the national team will depend on Porto this summer," said da Silva.

"Scolari may call on Deco, but he tends to be marvellous one game and then disappoints in the next.

"Porto rely on a collective approach and not the individual, which is very different from the Portuguese team.

"Scolari has a lot of talented players at his disposal. And the young players like Simao Sabrosa, Miguel and Ronaldo will do very well."

Da Silva believes Scolari will come out of Euro 2004 "with great honour," but does not expect the Brazilian to be in charge for the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"He will not stay after Euro 2004. Having won the World Cup and then imagine he wins this tournament...there could be no other glory for a modern manager."





Links to more Portugal stories


 

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