Scolari apologises for failure to break down the Greek wall


LISBON: Portugal's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari apologised to the nation on Sunday after he failed to lead the country to victory in the Euro 2004 final against Greece. 

“It is difficult to accept, but we have to accept it. They play defensively. They won because they knew how to play well in that way,” the Brazilian told state television RTP after the host nation's 0-1w defeat by outsiders Greece. 

“I want to apologise in the name of the entire team for not being able to give the final joy in this Euro campaign to all the Portuguese who have supported us.” 

BOTCHED: Portugal's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari lifts up his arms in dismay after watching his side miss a chance to score during the final on Sunday.--AFPpic

Scolari announced after Portugal's 2-1 semi-final win over Holland last week that he had agreed to renew his contract with the Portuguese Football Federation for two years more to run up to the 2006 World Cup. 

Scolari, who spent the match waving his arms frantically trying to drive his misfiring team on, was visibly shattered after failing to become the first man in the history of the game to coach different nations to the World Cup (with Brazil in 2002) and the European Championship. 

Helmut Schoen performed the feat with one country, West Germany, winning the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup two years later. 

Scolari said he was all the unhappier in defeat with the Greeks having thrown up a defensive shield around their goal throughout to frustrate his charges. 

“All their games are the same. But they have players with a lot of character and they manage to win. So congratulations,” said Scolari, whose inspired touch with substitutions throughout the tournament failed to pay dividends when it mattered most in the final. – AFP 

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