England meet Portugal today, July1, in Gelsenkirchen at 5:00 PM German time (11:00 EST)
Big Phil has had the measure of Sven in the last two encounters, in World Cup 2002, when Brazil beat England and agin Euro 2004, with Portugal.
Sven has been outcoached both times. But this time might be different. Portugal is without its little man, big star, the unassuming Deco. The pace of Cristiano Ronaldo will hurt too. On the other hand, Gary Neville is back to bolster the right flank, with David Beckham up front, giving a more potent threat to Portugal in that part of the field. Simao Sabroso has been stellar in the Portugese midfield. He, Maniche, and Tiago will have to carry the load today. Miguel at right back has looked threatening on his runs up front and needs his wits about him to control Rooney.
Head to heads:
They have met 21 times and England have won nine and lost just three times. On the flip side they have not beaten Portugal since 1998, a run of four matches, and that trio of defeats came in competitive matches.
England: Robinson, Neville, Ferdinand, Terry, A Cole, Beckham, Lampard, Hargreaves, Gerrard, J Cole, Rooney.
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Carvalho, Meira, Valente, Petit, Maniche, Tiago, Figo, Ronaldo, Pauleta.
Referee: Horacio Elizondo (Argentina).
I hope Lampard gets over his obsession with dry pitches being responsible for his poor form. The field conditions in Gelsenkirchen are nice and soggy.
Update: Cristiano Ronaldo is in the squad for Portugal.