Scolari pays tribute to resilient England

July 1, 2006

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari paid tribute to England for the way they fought with 10 men following Rooney's dismissal in the 62nd minute.

Portugal
GettyImages / AlexLiveseyJoy for Portugal after the spot-kick success

'England have played a wonderful match with 10 men and we have to congratulate them,' he said. 'The penalties are always a lottery.

'I want to value the attitude of the English players. It looked like 11 against 11.

'They did not give us many opportunities. We were forced to shoot from long-distance and that is not something the Portugal players cannot do very well. England did well to close the space.'

The former Brazil boss also admitted the shoot-out could have gone either way.

'I could not imagine winning or losing,' he said. 'I was just waiting to see what happens. Ricardo has developed very well in terms of saving spot-kicks in the past years and he stopped three penalties today.

'If I had to select a player it would have been Ricardo because he saved three penalties.

'He was happy to be in the right place. You have to give him more merit for saving than the English players (for not scoring).

'But they can select any one of the opponents as long as we win.'

Scolari also refused to comment on Rooney's sending off.

'On the red card I don't have to give you an opinion,' he stated. 'If he thinks it was a red card than it is his decision.'

Scolari also believes the Portuguese are capable of going on to win the trophy.

'Portugal can be world champions because we are through to the semi-finals,' he argued.

'There is just one game left to the final. We will be ready in the semi-finals. Now that the emotions have cleared we are in the last four and will take on whoever will be coming. We will be ready.'

Ricardo said his exploits were down to more than luck.

'Penalty shootouts are a lottery, but I train well too, but I'm not going to tell you my secrets, then you will know everything,' he said.

The normally jovial keeper became visibly irate at a reporter who suggested he was just lucky and insisted: 'It wasn't luck - watch the television'.

Portugal went through to a semi-final meeting against Brazil or France after Ricardo's stops sealed a 3-1 win on penalties for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side. The match had ended 0-0 after 120 minutes.

'I'm not a hero. The hero is the whole Portugal team, the great player is everybody,' said the 30-year-old.

Asked whether he had ever saved so many penalties in a single match, he had to stop and think.

'I don't think so. I've saved many penalties but I don't remember if I've ever saved three in a match before,' he said.

Ricardo, who sent England home from Euro 2004 by converting a match-winning penalty in a shootout, said he had nothing personal against the 1966 World Cup winners.

'I like the English guys, but I like Portugal more,' he said.

Ricardo kept his nerve after Hugo Viana and Armando Petit missed their attempts for Portugal.

'When we missed two, we thought maybe we weren't going to succeed, but fortunately we did. I had a lot of confidence, in my colleagues too...and I had a lot of people behind me,' he said.