Portugal seeking first World Cup title

Portugal is the only team in this year's World Cup semifinals not to have won the title.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:35 IST
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Portugal is the only team in this year's World Cup semifinals not to have won the title. Forty years after they finished in third place, the Portuguese are close to equalling their best ever showing in the tournament. After five straight wins in Germany, though, they fancy their chances of going all the way. ``Records are there to be broken,'' goalkeeper Ricardo said Sunday, a day after his team beat England 3-1 in a quarterfinal penalty shootout. Portugal's Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari stretched his unbeaten run at the World Cup to 12 matches, and the Portuguese are on a 19-game unbeaten streak dating back to February 2005. But the Portuguese are under no illusions. They meet a resurgent France on Wednesday in Munich. "We know it'll be extremely difficult,'' Ricardo said. ``They've got a great team with fantastic players.'' Scolari gave his reserves a training session but rested the players who beat England after a 0-0 draw that lasted 120 minutes because of extra time. Luis Figo, who made his 125th appearance Saturday, and winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who complained of feeling heaviness in his right thigh after skipping training all last week with an injury, underwent special treatment. Scolari has stuck with Ricardo despite broad criticism of his form at his club Sporting Lisbon. The gamble paid off in Germany, especially on Saturday as Ricardo stopped three shootout shots. In the 2004 European Championship quarterfinals against England, he pulled his glove off to save one and scored another in a penalty shootout that sent Portugal through. (AP)