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Portugal get just reward against Turkey in EURO '96 Group D

Portugal 1-0 Turkey
Portugal required the intervention of defender Fernando Couto to condemn Turkey to an early exit.

Portugal's scorer Fernando Couto (centre) takes the acclaim after his strike
Portugal's scorer Fernando Couto (centre) takes the acclaim after his strike ©Getty Images

Less fluent than in their opening fixture, Portugal nevertheless picked up their first victory of the tournament to climb to the Group D summit and condemn Turkey to an early exit.

António Oliveira's team were hugely impressive against Denmark but held to a 1-1 draw that did not do justice to their dominance. Though not in quite as ebullient form this time around, their approach play remained a joy to watch – even if their cutting edge in the final third once again betrayed their splendid work in midfield. It was left to a defender, Fernando Couto – once again unyielding in his day job – to earn the three points with a 66th-minute volley.

EURO '96: All you need to know

Despite being overshadowed by their opponents' splendid form, Turkey showed flashes of their own; lacking subtlety in the final third, though, their forwards were left to feed on scraps. Even Hakan Şükür, prolific in qualifying, lacked sharpness in front of goal and hastily shot wide in the first half having been taken by surprise after the ball landed at his feet.

The best goals of EURO '96
The best goals of EURO '96

Sá Pinto clipped wide when presented with Portugal's first clear-cut opening, but his team had at that point seized the initiative. Couto did the damage midway through the second half when a short corner was deflected his way and he volleyed low and hard through a crowd of players and past Turkey goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber.

EURO '96: Team of the Tournament

Lineups

Portugal prepare for kick-off in Nottingham
Portugal prepare for kick-off in NottinghamIcon Sport via Getty Images

Portugal: Vítor Baía (c); Dimas, Fernando Couto, Hélder, Paulinho Santos; Luís Figo, Paulo Sousa, Rui Costa, Folha (José Tavares 46); Sá Pinto (Cadete 65), João Pinto (Porfírio 77)
Substitutes
: Secretário, Oceano, Vítor Paneira, Alfredo, Pedro Barbosa, Domingos, Paulo Madeira, Rui Correia
Coach
: António Oliveira

Turkey: Rüştü; Alpay, Ogün (Zafer 46), Vedat; Abdullah, Recep, Tugay, Sergen, Oğuz (c) (Arif 69); Hakan Şükür, Saffet (Tolunay 63)
Substitutes
: Adnan, Hami, Orhan , Faruk, Tayfun, Bülent, Şanver
Coach
: Fatih Terim

Referee: Sándor Puhl (Hungary)

Man of the Match: Fernando Couto (Portugal)