||ESPNsoccernet: World Cup
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Maniche hails Portugal's 'tasty win'
NUREMBERG, June 25 (Reuters) - Portugal match-winner Maniche said his team's superior spirit had finally proved the difference in their 1-0 World Cup second-round win over the Netherlands which finished nine-a-side.
Maniche latched on to a Pauleta pass to fire the game's only
goal after 23 minutes before it fell into near anarchy with four
red cards being shared by the teams and eight other players also
booked by referee Valentin Ivanov, a World Cup finals record.
The midfielder, though, preferred to concentrate on
Portugal's fighting spirit after they spent much of a frantic
second half a man down.
'I think we won because we are a great group, a group of
talented players, a group of friends too,' Maniche told German
'Overall we deserved to win. This is a tasty win for
He continued: 'The referee did not contribute to a good show
of football. I don't think this match was so violent to have as
many sendings-off as we had.'
Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar blamed poor finishing for
his team's inability to take advantage of their numerical
superiority before Giovanni van Bronckhorst's 90th minute
'Falling a goal behind was no problem but then you have to
score the first chance you get and that one we missed,' he told
'At the end when we played 10 against nine we didn't get the
ball where it should be.'
Dutch coach Marco van Basten said his team's relative lack
of experience had proved the difference.
'In the second half after they were reduced to nine we
forgot to play football and just looked for the most direct way
to the goal. This match was a step too far for my inexperienced
team,' he told reporters.
His opposite number Luiz Felipe Scolari added: 'For many
years Portugal hasn't seen a team dignify the name of Portugal,
fight for Portugal, doing so much for Portugal.
'We have to congratulate our team, our athletes. All I can
think about today is this heroic, marvellous victory.'