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Portugal not a dirty team, insists Nuno Valente

Written by: Staff

MARIENFELD, Germany, June 28: Portugal defender Nuno Valente insisted today the World Cup quarter-finalists were not a violent team.

''People want to give us the reputation of being aggressive but it's not true,'' Valente said of the stormy last 16 clash with the Netherlands which ended with nine players on each side.

Portugal had playmaker Deco and midfielder Costinha sent off and both will miss the last eight meeting against England in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday.

''Since 2002 we have never had any disciplinary cases.

Unfortunately this changed in the last game but the referee had a lot of pressure and didn't have the necessary control of the game,'' added Valente.

Until Sunday's ill-tempered 1-0 win, Luiz Felipe Scolari had earned a reputation as a stickler for discipline. But the coach appeared to glorify Portugal's fighting spirit in the post-match press conference.

''For many years Portugal hasn't seen a team dignify the name of Portugal, fight for Portugal or do so much for Portugal. We have to congratulate our team,'' he said.

Team officials defended the team on Wednesday, with spokesman Afonso Melo refuting accusations in some British media that Portugal were ''insubordinate and violent''.

''This is unfair and preposterous,'' Melo said. ''Portugal has spent the last four years without a red card.''


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