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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Portugal's party preparations
Portugal have been busy preparing for Euro 2004 despite not having to qualify for the tournament as the host country.

PORTUGAL'S RECENT FORM
Portugal's Rui Costa
Results
06.09.03: Spain (h) 0-3
10.09.03: Norway (a) 1-0
11.10.03: Albania (h) 5-3
15.11.03: Greece (h) 1-1
19.11.03: Kuwait (h) 8-0
18.02.04: England (h) 1-1
31.03.04: Italy (h) 1-2
28.04.04: Sweden (h) 2-2

But they have showed indifferent form, playing five of the tournament qualifiers - England, Spain, Greece, Italy and Holland - since the 2002 World Cup and failing to beat any of them.

Coach Antonio Oliveira, whose side failed to get past the first round in Korea/Japan, was replaced in the summer of 2002 by caretaker Agostinho Oliveira, who then made way for Brazil's World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari later that year.

Under the guidance of both men, Portugal's form and fortune began to change.

They played England, Tunisia, Sweden and Scotland in the latter half of 2002.

Their first big test was against England, with midfielder Costinha cancelling out Alan Smith's opener, late in the second half.

A last-gasp winner from Rui Costa gave the Portuguese a thrilling 3-2 win in Sweden, four days after they had drawn against Tunisia.

In November, a comfortable 2-0 victory over Scotland meant they ended 2002 on a high.

Their next friendly was in February 2003, away to Italy. A goal from striker Bernado Corradi handed Portugal their first defeat for eight months.

However, they more than made amends against the world champions Brazil when Pauleta and then a late winner from Porto's Deco gave them a memorable 2-1 victory.

Success over Macedonia and then a 1-1 draw in Holland came during the month of April, before Paraguay came over and played out a 0-0 stalemate and Bolivia were humbled 4-0.

Kazakhstan paid a rare visit to Portugal's shores and went away beaten as a result of Simao Sabrosa's 65th minute effort.

Neighbours Spain provided a sterner test and recorded a 3-0 win.

Wins against Norway, Albania and Kuwait followed, while they drew against Greece and England, before falling to Italy for the second time.

And last month they were home to Sweden, an entertaining match that finished 2-2 thanks to Nuno Gomes' 90th minute equaliser.





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