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Thursday, April 29, 2004 

Portugal 2 - 2 Sweden

Portugal were heading for defeat after gifting Sweden two goals in Coimbra before Nuno Gomes brought a pulsating encounter to a close in the final minute with a thumping header which ensured the spoils were shared.

Having beaten England in their last friendly outing, Sweden appeared on course for another victory when Portugal defender Rui Jorge put through his own net while under no pressure with three minutes remaining. Nuno Gomes then spared the blushes of the UEFA EURO 2004™ hosts, who had earlier relied on Pauleta to cancel out Kim Källström's opener for the Swedes,

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was without the FC Porto quintet of Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Costinha and Deco because of their UEFA Champions League commitments, meaning Petit, Tiago, Miguel and Rui Jorge started the game. Sweden, meanwhile, were without Fredrik Ljungberg and Michael Svensson, with Christian Wilhelmsson and Johan Mjällby deputising.

The hosts started the livelier and the attacking midfield trio of Simão Sabrosa, Luís Figo and Rui Costa contrived to cause problems for the Swedish defence with their fluency and rapid passing. Yet it was the guests who went ahead in the 16th minute in bizarre fashion. Källström fired in a low free-kick from 30 metres which Ricardo moved to save, only to take his eye off the ball - which somehow ricocheted into the net off his head.

Portugal reacted positively and were soon placing the Swedes under pressure. Pauleta, of Paris Saint-Germain FC, hit the post in the 22nd minute after some clever work by Figo, who then won a penalty after being felled by Andreas Johansson. The Real Madrid CF player took it himself, although his spot-kick lacked both the precision and power to beat Andreas Isaksson, who got down well to gather it at the second attempt.

Portugal were finally rewarded for their attacking endeavour in the 33rd minute when Pauleta pounced. Rui Costa created the goal, his shot striking Mjällby on the back and falling kindly to Pauleta, who equalised with an assured finish. The second half saw a flurry of substitutions and initially chances were at a premium. Scolari shifted from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2, allowing wingers Luís Boa Morte and Cristiano Ronaldo the freedom to search for openings which never materialsed.

Sweden regained the lead as time ticked by. Wilhelmsson, lively throughout, raced down the left flank, outstripped a defender and cut the ball back from the by-line where Rui Jorge turned it in while attempting to clear. But the Scandinavians were denied an impressive triumph as full time beckoned when Nuno Gomes skilfully headed in Ronaldo's centre.

Source: Uefa.com


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