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England looked like they would miss, says Ricardo

Written by: Staff

MARIENFELD, Germany, July 2: Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo said he could sense from looking at the England players that they were going to miss during the penalty shootout which settled yesterday's World Cup quarter-final.

Ricardo saved a record three penalties as Portugal won 3-1 in the shootout following a goalless draw to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1966.

''We've trained a lot on penalties and I could see by looking at the eyes of the English players that they did not feel confident about scoring,'' he told reporters today.

''I tried to make the goal shrink in their eyes,'' he added. ''I wanted to prolong their suffering.'' ''I felt at that moment that I could save at least one or two penalties.'' ''(Captain Luis) Figo said he was certain I would save two and I went one better.'' Ricardo, who was also the hero when Portugal beat England on penalties in their European championship quarter-final two years ago, said he was ready to take a penalty for his side just as he did on the previous occasion.

In 2004, Ricardo saved Darius Vassell's attempt for England in sudden death, then stepped up and placed the decisive kick onfidently past David James.

Ricardo said he was also inspired by the sight in the stands of a lone Portugal supporter in the middle of a large group of England fans.

''I didn't know whether to laugh, or smile or cry,'' said Ricardo. ''It's an image which will stay with me for ever.'' Portugal face France in their semi-final in Munich on Wednesday.


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