Portugal’s Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has claimed he is unconcerned by reports of a rift between him and captain Luis Figo.
Despite appearing to have a positive impact on last night’s dramatic Euro 2004 quarter-final victory against England, Scolari substituted the Portuguese skipper after 75 minutes at the Estadio da Luz.
Figo’s replacement, Helder Postiga, scored an 83rd minute equaliser for the host nation before several more twists in extra time meant the match was decided by a penalty shoot-out after the scores were level at 2-2 after extra-time.
Figo appeared disgusted at his withdrawal and disappeared down the tunnel, refusing to join the rest of the squad in the dugout. Portuguese newspapers have claimed this morning that the Real Madrid midfielder did not even watch the penalty shoot-out, which Portugal eventually won 6-5.
Scolari, who has drawn praise from the Portuguese press and fans despite replacing their idol, seemed completely unconcerned by speculation regarding himself and his captain and even hinted that he may take action if Figo disrupts the unity of his squad.
“I didn’t see him walk off the pitch angrily and it’s not something I have to bother myself with,” claimed the former Gremio and Brazil coach.
“I’m paid to watch the game and that’s what I did. I’m not here to see if a player goes to the dressing room or if he sits on the bench.”
“They told me Figo was in the dressing room listening to the penalties and praying,” he continued.
“However, if at the end I feel something was wrong I will take action.”
Goals from Postiga and Rui Costa helped Portugal into the semi-finals, where they will face either Holland or Sweden in Lisbon on Wednesday.