Luís Figo said Portugal had "missed a great opportunity" after his side's 1-0 defeat by Greece in the UEFA EURO 2004™ final. The Portugal captain was reflecting on a night of bitter disappointment for the tournament hosts who lost to a second-half header from Angelos Charisteas, the Greeks' only effort on target in the whole match.
Asked how he felt when referee Markus Merk blew the final whistle at the Estádio da Luz, Figo said: "I felt I'd missed a great opportunity, not only for me but for all of my team-mates who've lived this competition so intensely and the people who've given us so much support."
Figo said that Greece were the "most effective" team in the tournament, if not the most attractive. "They won, you can't take the credit from them, but if you ask me if it was a football that I like to see, of course not," he said. "There'll be a lot of people who would say the same. It's efficient, I don't know if they're the best team but they are the most effective and they won."
He added that he would look back on some "great memories" of a month when Portugal reached their first major final. "I'll take a lot of great memories, tonight's result is not the most positive but I'll remember what we've lived in these games and the many shows of support we received from the public," he said. "We tried to give them something to celebrate but unfortunately we were not able to.
Conscience is clear
"My conscience is clear that I did all I could to win the trophy, just like all my team-mates who've worked so hard since day one. It wasn't possible but we have to be proud of our campaign, for the organisation of this tournament, for everything."
Another of Portugal's veterans, Rui Costa, announced on the eve of the final that it would be his last international but it remains to be seen whether Figo, 31, has also played his last match for Portugal. "It's not the right time to speak about it," he said afterwards.
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