Scolari looks north, and to life after Figo
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari admits it is time for a footballing revolution as Portugal attempt improve on their European championships final appearance.india Updated: Sep 06, 2006 19:05 IST
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari admits it is time for a footballing revolution as Portugal attempt improve on their European championships final appearance two years ago, without two of their major lynchpins.
Missing striker Pauleta and playmaker Luis Figo, both of whom have retired from the international game, Portugal face Finland in Helsinki on Wednesday hoping their World Cup form can make a timely return.
Portugal were one of the form teams of the tournament in Germany and Scolari, who turned down the England job to continue in his current post, seems confident they can go all the way.
"The aim for us is to get to the final, and who knows maybe we can go all the way and be crowned champions this time."
As well as finishing fourth at the World Cup Portugal lost the final of Euro 2004, which they hosted, to Greece.
Scolari added, "After the Euro 2004 and World Cup finals we said it was impossible to do any better, but in football nothing is impossible when the desire is there.
"And there's plenty of desire in this team."
Portugal will go into their first qualifier looking to do better than the 4-2 friendly defeat they suffered to Denmark in Copenhagen on Saturday.
However midfielder Petit said most of the players are still looking for full match fitness.
"None of the players are really match fit," said Petit, admitting that a draw to Finland in Helsinki "wouldn't be so bad".
Scolari will be without a number of injured players, including Sabrosa Simao, Ricardo Quaresma, midfielder Carlos Martins and defender Fernando Meira. The latter two have not been replaced in his squad.
Scolari could adapt his game to fit around the newly-arrived players like striker Nani and midfielder Joao Moutinho.
"We have to adapt our tactical system," added the Brazilian, indicating that Portugal would likely play with two men up front.
"We're going to have to make changes to our game."
Taking Figo's influence into account, Scolari added, "The only player whose game resembles Figo's is Deco."
However the man known as 'Big Phil' said it was Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo who would be their star man.
"He will probably be one of the greatest players Portugal has seen. He just doesn't stop improving, getting more and more experience and maturing."
First Published: Sep 06, 2006 19:05 IST