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England floored by thrilling Portugal comeback in EURO 2000 Group A

Portugal 3-2 England
Inspired by Rui Costa, Portugal came from 2-0 down to claim a famous victory in Eindhoven.

EURO 2000 highlights: Portugal 3-2 England

Portugal pulled off a famous victory in Eindhoven, coming from two goals down to beat England 3-2 in a memorable Group A encounter.

England's UEFA EURO 2000 campaign got off to a dream start as Paul Scholes and Steve McManaman converted David Beckham crosses inside the opening 18 minutes. Yet Portugal's star-studded midfield, directed by Rui Costa, stole the show.

EURO 2000: All you need to know

They were level before half-time courtesy of goals from Luís Figo and João Pinto, and with England licking their wounds – salted by injuries to Michael Owen and McManaman – Nuno Gomes completed a remarkable turnaround before the hour. Kevin Keegan's men regained their composure, with Alan Shearer and Scholes going close to an equaliser, but it was Portugal's night.

Highlights: Best goals of EURO 2000

Winning a Portuguese-record 71st cap, captain Vítor Baía will certainly remember it, though for a while it looked like being for all the wrong reasons. He had already kept out Shearer's header when, on three minutes, Beckham retrieved Phil Neville's over-hit cross and his more measure delivery caught the back line napping. Scholes, timing his run well, headed in off the underside of the bar.

Portugal brushed themselves down and, prompted by Figo and Rui Costa, they were soon dictating matters. João Pinto should have done better from Rui Costa's cross from the right but he mistimed his header and the ball bounced harmlessly over. Rui Costa himself brought the best out of keeper David Seaman, who flung himself to his left to turn aside a powerful drive; Figo fired a free-kick over the bar.

Steve McManaman celebrates scoring the opener with Alan Shearer
Steve McManaman celebrates scoring the opener with Alan Shearer Getty Images

Then, against the run of play, England went two up. Owen combined well with Beckham and another pinpoint cross was turned in on the half-volley by McManaman. The backlash began immediately, and Nuno Gomes had been denied, first by the offside flag and then by Seaman diving at his feet, when Figo reduced the arrears. The winger picked up a loose ball in midfield, advanced and unleashed a shot that deflected off Tony Adams and into the top corner.

Eight minutes before half-time it was all square as João Pinto sent a flying header in off the far post following another Rui Costa cross. The loss of Owen and McManaman darkened England's mood, but not as much as Portugal's 59th-minute winner as another fantastic ball from Rui Costa spilt their defence asunder. Nuno Gomes brought it under instant control and, as Adams slid in, he lashed his shot into the roof of the net.

EURO 2000: Team of the Tournament


England line up before taking on Portugal at EURO 2000
England line up before taking on Portugal at EURO 2000Popperfoto via Getty Images

Portugal: Vítor Baía (c); Abel Xavier, Jorge Costa, Fernando Couto, Dimas; Paulo Bento, Vidigal, Rui Costa (Beto 85), Luís Figo; Nuno Gomes (Capucho 89), João Pinto (Sérgio Conceição 75)
Substitutes: Quim, Pedro Espinha, Rui Jorge, Paulo Sousa, Sá Pinto, Costinha, Secretário
Coach: Humberto Coelho

England: Seaman; G. Neville, Adams (Keown 82), Campbell, P. Neville; Beckham, Scholes, Ince, McManaman (Wise 58); Shearer (c), Owen (Heskey 46)
Substitutes: Martyn, Wright, Southgate, Barry, Gerrard, Barmby, Phillips, Fowler
Coach: Kevin Keegan

Referee: Anders Frisk (Sweden)

Man of the Match: Luís Figo (Portugal)