I decided that I would go to some of the matches in the 2004 European Championship. I bought 3 tickets in advance but did not know which matches I would see. One was for the quarter finals and it would be in Lisbon’s Estádio da Luz. It turned out to be the jewel in the crown for the matches I saw live with the Portuguese selecção. The date was the 24th June 2004 and the opponent was England.
England scored first a in the 3rd minute by Owen. Portugal worked hard for an equalizer that finally came by Postiga in the 83rd minute. The match had to go to extra time. A hard shot by Rui Costa in the 110th minute put Portugal ahead for the first time. It would not last though, as five minutes later and five from finish saw an equalizer by Lampard. After extra time the quarterfinal had to be decided from the penalty spot. My brother Pedro smoked non stop throughout the whole match. Ricardo the goal keeper became the hero for that eventful match. First he saved a penalty and then scored the winner. A night I will never forget!
My latest match with the National Team was in Coimbra on the 15th November 2006. For some reason that I have now forgotten I was in Portugal at this time. I asked my father to get us tickets for the match that was part of the qualification for the 2008 European Championships. The opponents were Kazakhstan and as the match was in Coimbra I had booked a hotel room. My father had not bought the tickets but was confident that there would be plenty – After all who wants to see Borat’s country in a football match? When we arrived in Coimbra it was pouring with rain. Frustration grew as we could not find the hotel. Eventually we got there and I went off to the stadium with the purpose of getting tickets. I was informed at the ticket office that it was sold out. Someone said I could go and speak to some students standing nearby. They asked me if I needed tickets which of course I did. They said that they didn’t sell tickets but if I bought some Portugal scarves they would give away the tickets. Said and done. What was the alternative? The tickets were good and it allowed us to see Portugal win by 3-0 with goals scored by Simão (2) and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Going to matches with the Portuguese National Team have been events well worth remembering.