Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has revealed he will not change his lineup tomorrow against a Greece side he described as a "perfect example of how collective strength can overcome individual talent".
Speaking at today's press conference, Scolari confirmed there would be no changes to his starting eleven, meaning Pauleta will continue to lead the attack despite being replaced by Nuno Gomes in the 2-1 semi-final victory against the Netherlands. "We will not change the team," Scolari said. "We have to be alert and show patience to play without making any mistakes that Greece could exploit.
"Both teams had similar runs to the final, with almost the same goal average and number of wins so it will be a very difficult match between the best teams in Europe. There is a 50 per cent chance for each side."
'Friendship and respect'
Scolari added: "Portugal and Greece want to play their part in a great party in the stadium, with friendship and respect for each side, no matter who wins. Let's treat the Greeks in the way we want to be treated when they welcome us to Olympic Games [in Athens] next month."
He paid tribute to the organisational skill of his opposite number Otto Rehhagel, claiming: "Greece are the perfect example of how collective strength can overcome individual talent". He added: "For a team that had never won a match in a major tournament, reaching the final is an enormous thing for them. I think that, whatever the result, Greece are already the great winners of the EURO, because of everything they have overcome to get to the final."
Regarding tomorrow's showpiece, Scolari rejected any suggestion that the German referee Markus Merk could be influenced by the fact his compatriot Rehhagel is in charge of the Greece team. "I am sure he will do his best to have a good game. Markus Merk is not my opponent, Greece are, so it's time to stop talking about him."
The Brazilian, who led his homeland to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, explained that his two sons' decision to continue their studies in Portugal had helped make up his mind about extending his contract until 2006. Regarding his adopted country and, with a nod to the ongoing search for a new prime minister, the hugely popular Scolari gave his own election address.
"Thinking as a prime ministerial candidate, I would say this tournament has mostly been about the friendship between so many different cultures and people, without major problems and where the feeling towards each other was the most important thing. I would describe EURO 2004™ as a loving, caring and friendly party."
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