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Thursday, 24 May 2012 13:03

Portugal at the European Championships: where it all began - 1984

Selecção edged out by Platini, Tigana & company

Fernando ChalanaIn the first of a series of articles looking back at Portugal’s five participations in the finals of the European Championships, we travel back to where it all began. France, in 1984, and a memorable performance from the Selecção.
 
 
On 13 November 1983, on a sodden pitch at the Estádio da Luz, qualification was guaranteed thanks to a 1-0 victory over Russia. A penalty committed against Fernando Chalana (pictured above) was successfully converted by Jordão, and the Selecção were on their way to France, where tens of thousands of Portuguese expats would give their unconditional backing to the national team, a typical characteristic of the Portuguese emigrant communities all around the world.
 
At the time it was only the second major tournament Portugal had ever qualified for, almost two decades after their unforgettable run at the 1966 World Cup. Portugal would prove that just like in the tournament in England, they were not there to make up the numbers.
 

Tough assignment

Portugal seem to have a strange attraction to the so-called “Groups of Death”, and in France their task was to finish in the top two of a section comprising Germany, Spain and Romania, in order to book a semi-final place.
 
The first two matches were negotiated with creditable draws, 0-0 against Germany and 1-1 against Spain. Against the Spanish, António Sousa put Portugal ahead with a lob over Arconada, but Carlos Santillana scored the equaliser. A victory over Romania would put the Selecção into the semi-final of a European Championship contested by eight nations.
 
Not even a brutal tackle by Irimescu after 17 minutes, which forced Chalana off the pitch, prevented a happy outcome. Nené, who was warming up on the sidelines, shouted to coach Fernando Cabrita: “Senhor Cabrita, throw me on and I’ll score a goal!” And that was precisely what happened, nine minutes from the final whistle, as he had done so often in his career.

Portugal travelled south to take on a great France team on their own turf, and at Marseille of all places, which would have a spectacular and vibrant atmosphere.
 

Memorable match

On an afternoon where the mistral mercilessly swept through the old stadium, the two teams put on one of the greatest shows in the history of football, which was only decided in extra time.
 
Domergue gave France a half-time lead, but Portugal shocked the host country by equalising on 74 minutes, and then taking the lead in extra time, thanks to a brace from Rui Jordão.

With little over five minutes separating Portugal from the final, Domergue grabbed an equaliser for France, and the knockout blow was delivered by the great Michel Platini (his 8th goal of the tournament), after an unbelievable run from Jean Tigana, who gathered energies from one knows not where.
platini-scores-v-portugal-euro-1984.jpg
Platini scores in the last minute of extra time to break Portuguese hearts.
 
Portugal had been beaten, but it was a marvellous participation and announced the re-emergence of the National Team, which had been an absentee on the big stage for many years. Chalana’s mesmeric displays throughout earned him the nickname of the little genius”.
 
by Tom Kundert

Related: Portugal at European Championships series

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Comments (8)
What a game !
8 Saturday, 26 May 2012 04:12
I was a teenager and had no idea of Portugal was in the tournament and by fluke the game was televised on CBC and what a thrill to watch Chalana, Nene,Jordao and our golie Bento saving all the shots coming in from Platini. However sad how they lost when they were so close to winning it but very proud of the way they played I remember the sports caster Brian Williams comment after the game saying "Oh Poor Portugal " but I did'nt think so,
Great Game and Memories
7 Friday, 25 May 2012 05:05
Watched this game with my dad here in the US. It was the start of my following the national team before we had the Internet.

This team played with honor and were mighty lions in an exciting game as we were put to the sword late in extra time. The French just had a little more brilliance and that has been our history in big games against the French.

This Portuguese played like a true Portuguese team with free flowing counter attacking and quick passing something that I think this current team lacks. This current team may by today's standard be faster and strong along with a better finisher in CR but lacks the creativity and fluild play of this team especially in midfield.

In the end this team brought joy to the people and showed that Portugal had teams that could compete.
such history
6 Friday, 25 May 2012 04:34
It does seem that Portugal have normally done well in situations where they aren't favored, even back then. I guess it was probably the same situation back in '66 even with Eusebio. That has to be one of our biggest advantages: getting written off by the teams that have more talent on paper. Then, we surprise everyone on the field. Not taking your opponent seriously is a bad mistake no matter what level of competition you play in.

One more thing I'll say is that it certainly does seem that there are certain countries whose style of play we can't deal with. France, Germany, and Greece are three teams that will always make me nervous. Even though Holland and Denmark are tough teams (especially knowing how Denmark manhandled us in Copenhagen at the end of qualifying), I just don't freak out about them like I do about Germany.

Forca Portugal, we'll continue to surprise everyone, just like we always have.
What a game
5 Friday, 25 May 2012 00:49
I grew up in France and I had a lot of admiration for Platini , Giresse, Tigana...what a team. But when Portugal played against France in 84 (I was 17 yo), I had to put aside my French team and be behind our Portuguese national side and support players I had never heard of before. We were so proud that our seleccao almost eliminated one of the best team of that time. The French were so impressed, that after the tournament, Bordeaux went to get Chalana.

Vive le portugal.

I'll have to wake up at 3 or 4 am to watch the Portuguese and French games here in Perth, but it's a small sacrifice.

Ate a proxima
Great Memories
4 Thursday, 24 May 2012 23:20
An all time classic , possible the best ever match in the history of the Euros ?
I remember watching this on a Saturday night with my Dad years ago , brings back some memories let me tell you .

I think for a nation so small we truly punch way above on the international scene. Let's hope we click for 6 games over June and July.


BTW, What is it about us and the French ? 84, 00 and 06, let's hope we don't meet them this year
Interesting look back
3 Thursday, 24 May 2012 20:50
Very interesting to read about this early campaign by the Seleccao - great idea for a post! I have no memory of this, and am now off in search of vintage video clips of Euro 1984 . . .
Chalana-Nene
2 Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:15
I wish i could have watched these guys play, I hear only from my my father and grand-father about how amazing they were. I am referring to Chalana and Nene. Plus the Chalana "moustache" was a great look, just about every Portuguese dad here in Canada looked like Chalana at one time or another. lol
Forçaaaa pahh
1 Thursday, 24 May 2012 13:19
Let's play like we did I'n 84 and make the great nation proud ,let's get behind Portugal like the liverpool fans do at anfield let's be the 12 player lets believe let's do it viana happy to c you I'n the be good to get fenandes I'n and verala or Ruben out and even carvalho I'n would b some great news let's do it Portugal forçaaaaa ...