Originally uploaded by Jupieee.
England have crashed out of Euro 2004. And rightfully so. After going ahead through (surprise of all surprises) a freak goal by Michael Owen in the 3rd minute, England played disgusting football for the rest of the 87 mts of normal time. Their attackers seldom moved forward, their creative midfielders lacked imagination, the combative midifielders just didn't win enough balls and the defence barely managed to shut out the rampaging Portuguese.
Big Phil has always proved himself to be a very shrewd reader of the game and the introduction of Simao in the second half was a stroke of sheer genius. What impressed me most was the confidence with which he pulled out Luis Figo, a move sure to have cost him his job if Portugal had lost. But Simao and the other two subs, Rui Costa and Helder Postiga repaid the faith reposed on them by their coach with two wonderful goals. To their credit, England did play brave football in extra time but the tired legs showed. Besides, the passionate crowd and the intense desire to win was the difference between the two teams. An exhilarating match that produced breath-taking football - the rest of the tournament now has to match up to some really high standards.
England's hero for the day: Ashley Cole
Portugal's hero for the day: Christiano Ronaldo
England's Villain for the day: David Beckham
Portugal's Villain for the day: Costinha
Magical Moment of the match: Helder Postiga's outrageously taken penalty.
Controversial moment of the match: Sol Campbell's disallowed goal
For more match stats
For complete photo gallery, click on the link at the bottom of this page