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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 01:00 GMT 02:00 UK
Scolari hails 'magical day'

By Phil McNulty
Our man in Portugal

Luiz Felipe Scolari
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari claims reaching the Euro 2004 final is more important than winning the World Cup with Brazil in Japan two years ago.

Scolari was in elated mood after the 2-1 semi-final victory against Holland in Lisbon.

"Brazil had won the World Cup four times before we did it again two years ago," he said.

"This is more important because Portugal has never been to a final and now we are there."

He added: "Now I am going to think about Sunday. I want to say how important the warmth the people of Portugal have shown us has been."

In the end we won with a bit of suffering
Portugal boss Luiz Felipe Scolari
Scolari also pledged his future to Portugal until the World Cup in Germany in 2006.

"It was on this day in 1991 the Portugal won the under-20 world championship in Lisbon and two years ago I won the World Cup with Brazil.

"So this is a magical day for me and Portugal. It was special to beat Holland because in 1995 I lost the world club championship with Gremio against Ajax, and some of those players were playing against us here.

"I think we could have killed the game a little bit earlier but I think my teams have to suffer - and in the end we won with a bit of suffering."

Scolari also insisted there was a new spirit between superstar Luis Figo and Deco, the naturalised Brazilian whose selection had been criticised by the Real Madrid star.

He said: "I have been talking about this for a year and a half now. The dressing room spirit is fantastic.

They have opinions which are sometimes different, but they respect each other and are friends.

"The two teams were very similar and sometimes it was like a tennis match, with the ball going one way then the other.

"But I felt the team with the better spirit would win and we did."



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