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Group D
Portugal v Angola
Kick-off 20:00 (BST)

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Portugal faces former colony and World Cup debutante Angola in a Group D match at Cologne on Sunday.

There are close links between the two countries and the eleven Angolan players plying their trade in Portugal will be looking to exploit their local knowledge and spring a surprise on today’s opponents.

Portugal, meanwhile, will be looking to erase the memories of 2002 when they travelled as one of the fancied teams, but failed to make it out of the group stages.

Following that disappointment, Portugal hired Luiz Felipe Scolari, who led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title.

He guided the to the Euro 2004 final, where they lost 1-0 to Greece.

“Team spirit can alter the outcome of a game,” Scolari said. “And that can decide how you do in a tournament.

“The mood in the Brazilian camp in 2002 and the mood here now is almost identical. Everyone is totally committed. That’s our biggest virtue.”
One of the important additions Scolari made to the team was Brazilian-born playmaker Deco, who was persuaded to adopt Portugal as his national team. The Barcelona playmaker is a doubt for today’s game after he injured a foot in training.

However, even without Deco, Scolari has an array of attacking talent at his disposal. Veteran midfielder Luis Figo is back for one last international hurrah, while Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo showed at Euro 2004 that he is a potential world class player.

Managed by the only African coach at the tournament, Angola are playing at the finals for the first time.

Luis Oliveira Goncalves won the 2001 African Nations Cup Youth Championship with the Angolan youth team before taking over as national team coach in 2003.

Angola have been hit by the loss of defender Yamba Asha, suspended until August for a doping offence.

The teams have met twice before although Angola will be looking to avoid the fate they suffered on their previous encounter when the game was abandoned because they were reduced to six players.

Probable teams:
Portugal: Ricardo, Miguel, Carvalho, Meira, Valente, Costinha, Maniche, Figo, Deco, Ronaldo, Pauleta.

Angola: Ricardo, Loco, Jamba, Kali, Delgado, Ze Kalanga, Andre, Figueiredo, Edson, Andre Titi Buengo, Akwa.

Referee: Jorge Larrionda (Uruguay)

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