Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo admitted he took his gloves off before saving Darius Vassell's penalty as a ploy to put the England striker off.
The Sporting Clube de Portugal player dived to his left to save Vassell's penalty before then converting the winning kick as Portugal won the shoot-out 6-5. "I felt that I had to do something after conceding three penalties all in the centre of the goal," he told euro2004.com. "Taking the gloves off was what occurred to me at that moment and I did it to try and motivate myself and to put Vassell off."
Agreed with Scolari
Afterwards Ricardo, a regular penalty taker for former club Boavista FC, talked down his exploits and told reporters: "We just did out there what the Portuguese people wanted and, above all, deserve." He had surprised even some of his own team-mates by stepping up to take Portugal's seventh penalty but said it was "prearranged with [coach Luiz Felipe] Scolari before the penalty shoot-out started".
The 28-year-old added: "I told him that I wanted to shoot and he said to me that, after the first five kicks, I would score the sixth and win the game. I've never missed a penalty in my career and Scolari's premonition was right".
One match away
Portugal will now face the winners of tomorrow's match between Sweden and the Netherlands in the first semi-final on 30 June. Ricardo said: "We are just one match away from the final and know it will get even more difficult. But we also know that there's no success without suffering and we proved, once again, our capacity to overcome adversity. Now, we will do everything to return to the Estádio da Luz [for the final] on 4 July."
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