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Portuguese disappointed, feel unlucky to lose

Written by: Staff

LISBON, July 6 (Reuters) Portuguese hopes turned to disappointment yesterday as a 1-0 loss to France meant their team would not be in the World Cup final for the first time.

Just a few cars hooted their horns in central Lisbon after the semi-final, contrasting with the overflow of celebrations that followed wins over Netherlands and England in Germany.

Fans were most disappointed by what they saw as an unfair penalty for France, scored by Zinedine Zidane after 33 minutes, and by the failure to break down a watertight French defence.

''I think we deserved to win,'' said Sandra Costa, who had watched the game in a park in Lisbon. ''But the victory went to the referee and not the Portuguese.'' Portugal's previous best World Cup performance was in 1966 when they finished in third place.

''The luck factor was not on Portugal's side today,'' their former striker Eusebio, who led Portugal in 1966, told the SIC television channel.

Prime Minister Jose Socrates said the Portuguese should be proud of their team.

''It is true that we did not have luck in this game,'' Socrates told SIC in Germany. ''But I think this game showed the high level of the team, I think all Portuguese should be proud of the side.'' Fans were upset after a game they believed could have gone either way.

''It's a big disappointment and Portugal had deserved to win,'' said Manuela Reis in Lisbon.

Reuters DH VP0425

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