Hélder Postiga today gave his backing to his fellow Portugal striker Pauleta, whose wait for a goal at UEFA EURO 2004™ continues after he missed several good opportunities in last night's semi-final against the Netherlands.
'These things happen'
Pauleta has not scored since the friendly win against Lithuania on 5 June, but Postiga defended his colleague's run of four starts without a goal as something that "sometimes happens in a striker's career". He added: "When a forward goes some games without scoring he loses confidence, but Pauleta will just have to stay focused on his daily work and I am sure he will score soon."
Postiga himself has a record of one goal from one appearance at these finals, following his scoring turn as a 75th-minute substitute against England. He was back on the bench at the Estádio José Alvalade last night following his goalscoring cameo in the quarter-final but was no less excited for it, speaking of his "joy at being part of a group which has already made history in Portuguese football".
After three semi-final defeats in major tournaments, the Portuguese are in a final at last and Postiga does not care which side they will face there. "We deserve to be in the final and I don't have any preference between Greece or the Czech Republic, two great teams [who meet in the other semi-final tonight].
Emotional dressing room
"We will do, for one last time, everything we can to become European champions." Looking back on last night, Postiga depicted an emotional dressing room after the match where "the players were all showing their feelings. I went to [Luís] Figo and congratulated him on achieving something he has been trying for so long."
Even the pre-match moments were special, as the 21-year-old revealed. Travelling to the stadium was "one of the greatest experiences of my life" he said, adding: "There were horses, bikes, boats and much more following our bus and showing their support. I will never forget this day, because it was intense in so many different ways."
A week on from the quarter-final against England, Postiga also recalled his penalty in the shoot-out which settled that match. The Tottenham Hotspur FC player scored with a cool chip straight down the middle of the goal but is not sure he will attempt the trick again. "I don't know, because now everybody knows how I did it. Even my father told me to not repeat it because he was close to a heart attack."
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