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Portugal need more than just Pauleta

Written by: Staff
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COLOGNE, June 12 (Reuters) Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was content with an opening 1-0 Group D win over Angola but privately must recognise their one-dimensional approach will not be enough against better sides later in the competition.

Scolari has long relied on a five-man midfield supporting lone striker Pauleta and that has proved successful in terms of victories and goals.

Pauleta scored after four minutes against Angola yesterday to take his tally to an impressive 47 in 83 internationals.

Portugal, having scored 35 goals in 12 games in a tough qualifying group, have only lost once in 20 matches since their defeat by Greece in the Euro 2004 final in Lisbon. They kept clean sheets in more than half those games.

With a match against Iran up next and then Mexico to finish their group games Scolari, famed for his reluctance to tinker with tactics or personnel, is unlikely to make any changes.

However, the second round is likely to see Portugal facing Argentina or Netherlands and suddenly things will not look so straightforward.

Captain Luis Figo was sprightly yesterday and fellow winger Cristiano Ronaldo had two good efforts on goal, including a sharp header against the bar.

But there was not much more in support from midfield, particularly in a flat second half when Portugal eventually seemed content to sit on their 1-0 lead against a worthy but distinctly limited Angolan side making their World Cup debut.

Scolari, who won the World Cup with Brazil four years ago, will need to get more from the likes of Deco, Maniche, Simao Sabrosa and Armando Petit as the tournament progresses.

In their three previous World Cup appearances Portugal fell at the first hurdle twice (1986 and 2002) and while they made the semi-finals in 1966 largely on the back of one special forward, for all his goals Pauleta is no Eusebio.

REUTERS PDS KN1809

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