Portugal took just one point from their first two matches, a remarkable 4-4 home draw against Cyprus preceding a 1-0 loss in Norway which was the catalyst for the dismissal of coach Carlos Queiroz. His replacement was Paulo Bento and the new man's reign got off to a perfect start thanks to a 3-1 home win against Denmark in which Nani scored twice, Portugal winning by the same scoreline in Iceland four days later. A 1-0 home victory against Norway in June 2011 continued the revival, and the goals subsequently began to flow with four in Cyprus and five against Iceland – although they conceded three in the latter encounter. That good work was undone on the final day of qualifying, however, a 2-1 defeat in Denmark sending Portugal into the play-offs.
2010 FIFA World Cup
Final tournament: round of 16
Qualifying Group 1: P10 W5 D4 L1 F17 A5 P19
Play-offs: Beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-0 on aggregate
After just one victory from their first five outings, a run which included a 3-2 home defeat by eventual section winners Denmark, Queiroz's side hit their stride when it mattered most. They won four of the next five matches, clinching second spot ahead of Sweden with home successes against Hungary and Malta. In the play-offs against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bruno Alves and Raul Meireles scored to secure 1-0 wins in each leg and a place in South Africa. Portugal kicked off their finals campaign with a goalless draw against Ivory Coast before a 7-0 defeat of North Korea which left them on the verge of the last 16. Their place in the knockout stage was confirmed by a goalless draw against Group G winners Brazil, but they bowed out in the next round with a 1-0 defeat against neighbours and eventual champions Spain.
UEFA EURO 2008
Final tournament: Quarter-finals
Qualifying Group A: P14 W7 D6 L1 F24 A10 Pts27
Portugal lost only once in qualifying but that 2-1 defeat by Poland meant they had to settle for second place behind Leo Beenhakker's side in Group A. It was still enough to earn a UEFA EURO 2008 berth for a team propelled by the eight-goal Cristiano Ronaldo – the preliminary competition’s second-highest scorer. Luiz Felipe Scolari's side made a confident start to the finals with comfortable wins over Turkey (2-0) and the Czech Republic (3-1) before losing 2-0 to co-hosts Switzerland with first place in their group already assured. Yet that was as good as it got for Portugal who bowed out in the quarter-finals, losing 3-2 to Germany in Basel.
UEFA European Championship best performance
The closest Portugal have come to holding the Henri Delaunay trophy came on home soil in 2004 when they went down 1-0 to Greece in the Lisbon final. Curiously Portugal's UEFA EURO 2004 campaign began and ended with defeats by the Greeks, whose 2-1 opening win against the hosts in Group A threatened to cut short their involvement in competition. Yet Scolari's men responded with victories against Russia (2-0) and Spain (1-0) to reach the last eight as group winners, before then overcoming England (on penalties after a 2-2 draw) and the Netherlands (2-1) to reach the final. Unfortunately for the host nation, Greece then crashed the party once more.
Pauleta is Portugal's all-time highest scorer, finishing his international career with 47 goals from 88 matches, six more than Eusébio. Portugal first qualified for the UEFA European Championship finals in 1984 and have participated in the last four tournaments.
2010 FIFA World Cup
Portugal 1-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-1 Portugal
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