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Conceição hat-trick ousts holders Germany in EURO 2000 Group A

Portugal 3-0 Germany
Portugal's second string, led by Sérgio Conceição, rounded off a miserable defence for holders Germany.

Sérgio Conceição scores a hat-trick against Germany
Sérgio Conceição scores a hat-trick against Germany ©Getty Images

A Sérgio Conceição hat-trick earned a largely second string Portugal side an eye-catching third victory in as many Group A outings to end Germany's UEFA European Championship defence.

The S.S. Lazio man ended growing German optimism with the opener on 35 minutes and by the time he completed his haul midway through the second half, even fans of the holders were applauding Portugal's flamboyance. On a day that saw Lothar Matthäus, Thomas Hässler and Ulf Kirsten win landmark caps, Germany's UEFA EURO 2000 campaign came to a mediocre end.

EURO 2000: All you need to know

It was always mission improbable for Germany. Shorn of injured trio Christian Ziege, Markus Babbel and Jens Jeremies, they needed to win and for Romania to beat England by a smaller margin to stay in the competition. In the event Romania kept their part of the bargain, but Erich Ribbeck's side never really looked like doing their bit despite being up against a side who, with progress as section winners assure, rested their leading players.

Highlights: Best goals of EURO 2000

Goalkeeper Vítor Baía was among them but replacement Pedro Espinha had an easy introduction as Portugal took the game to Germany. Pauleta shot wildly over early on though he was much closer on the quarter-hour, sliding in to meet Conceição's delivery. The ball rolled just past the post and news of Christian Chivu's goal for Romania brought Germany's supporters to life – their players soon awoke themselves.

Dietmar Hamann's speculative effort flew wide, as did Carsten Jancker's shot on the turn, and when Marco Bode hit the inside of the post at the end of a fine move involving Mehmet Scholl and Jancker suddenly everything seemed possible. Then disaster struck: In an increasingly rare foray forward, Portugal scored.

Pauleta and Rui Jorge played a delightful one-two on the edge of the area and when the latter's looping cross came in Conceição nodded the ball into the roof of the net from close range. At the other end Matthäus, winning his 150th and final cap, played in Jancker but his shot from the angle was parried, and by half-time German optimism had given way to resignation – England were leading.

Not even Romania's equaliser at the start of the second half was enough to rekindle enthusiasm and when Conceição scored his second on 54 minutes, his low shot slipping through Oliver Kahn's hands, they needed a miracle. Thereafter Portugal's shadow team turned on the style and even the Germany fans joined in the applause.

There was some cheer when Ribbeck brought on Kirsten for his 100th cap and Hässler for a record-equalling 13th UEFA European Championship finals appearance, but it was Conceição's night. Nineteen minutes from time the 25-year-old regained the spotlight, latching on to Capucho's pass and completing his hat-trick.

EURO 2000: Team of the Tournament


Portugal and Germany prepare for the anthems
Portugal and Germany prepare for the anthemsGetty Images

Portugal: Pedro Espinha (Quim 90); Beto, Jorge Costa, Fernando Couto (c), Rui Jorge; Sérgio Conceição, Paulo Sousa (Vidigal 72), Costinha, Capucho; Sá Pinto, Pauleta (Nuno Gomes 67)
Substitutes: Vítor Baía, Abel Xavier, Secretário, Dimas, Paulo Bento, Rui Costa, Luís Figo, João Pinto
Coach: Humberto Coelho

Germany: Kahn (c); Matthäus, Rehmer, Linke, Nowotny; Deisler, Ballack (Rink 46), Scholl (Hässler 60), Hamann; Bode, Jancker (Kirsten 69)
Substitutes: Butt, Lehmann, Wosz, Ziege, Ramelow
Coach: Erich Ribbeck

Referee: Dick Jol (Netherlands)

Man of the Match: Sérgio Conceição (Portugal)