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Portugal deserved to win, says media

Written by: Staff

LISBON, July 6 (Reuters) Portuguese media congratulated Luis Figo's team today in reaching the World Cup semi-final but said the country had deserved to win the game against France.

''Portugal deserved more,'' read the headline in daily Jornal de Noticias after the 1-0 loss against France. ''The enormous effort of the Portuguese was not enough to beat the cold French.'' The loss was especially bitter as it means Portugal will at most repeat their World Cup third place in 1966 -- the country's best performance in the tournament. Forty years ago, Portugal lost the semi-final to England, who went on to win.

Portugal will play Germany on Saturday to contest third place.

''Never, not even in 1966, were we so close to reaching the World Cup final,'' said sport daily A Bola. ''At the end of the day it wasn't just a dream. We were not worse.'' Disappointment still filled the pages of many newspapers though, with some pointing out that the referee's decision to give France a penalty was at best questionable.

''Once again it was an unfair end,'' said Diario de Noticias in an opinion piece. ''There is little consolation in saying it but this time we really had a moral victory.'' REUTERS PM BST1621

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