Football: Portugal in need of points

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The Independent Online
Portugal go into today's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine knowing that anything but a win could jeopardise their chances of reaching the 1998 finals in France. "We must win or things are going to get very complicated," their coach, Artur Jorge, said.

After impressing in Euro 96 last summer, the talented but inconsistent Portuguese have just one victory in three games in their campaign to reach the finals for only the third time. With Germany also in Group Nine, the Portuguese need maximum points against the Ukrainians after losing 2-1 in Kiev last month.

Ukraine, who head the group with a maximum six points from two games, will be boosted by the return of midfielder Hennady Orbu, whose Russian club Rotor Volgograd had refused to release him for the home game. "It is going to be difficult. From now on, there are no easy games but we are optimistic and convinced that we can put on a good display," Jorge said.

Like Ukraine, Yugoslavia also have a 100 per-cent record. They face the Czech Republic in Belgrade's Red Star stadium tomorrow looking to make it four wins out of four in Group Six. They have scored 17 goals and conceded just two, but will be without the injured Milan playmaker, Dejan Savicevic, tomorrow.

The Norwegian coach, Egil Olsen, has opted for a 4-5-1 formation against Switzerland in Berne today, which means that Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Southampton's Egil Ostenstadt are competing for one place in attack - along with the three other strikers in the squad.

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