Pauleta revives Portugal's hopes as Poles sent home

Portugal 4 Poland 0
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The Independent Football

Under the admiring gaze of Eusebio, who travels with Portugal's squad as a goodwill ambassador, Pauleta revived his country's hopes of a place in the last 16 with their first hat-trick in the World Cup finals since the great man himself scored four against North Korea at Goodison Park 36 years ago.

Under the admiring gaze of Eusebio, who travels with Portugal's squad as a goodwill ambassador, Pauleta revived his country's hopes of a place in the last 16 with their first hat-trick in the World Cup finals since the great man himself scored four against North Korea at Goodison Park 36 years ago.

Pauleta, a 29-year-old who flitted around clubs in Portugal and Spain before joining Bordeaux, was joint leading scorer in the French league last season, and on the evidence of his spree against a poor Poland side he may yet be lured to Serie A or back to La Liga.

His performance capped an altogether more convincing display by Portugal, who had suffered a shattering loss to the United States in their opening game. They now move on to meet South Korea knowing that victory will take them into the second round. Poland will be playing for pride alone in their last match, against the US.

Chonju rose to acclaim Pauleta, yet the city had spent the afternoon in a patriotic frenzy, relegating this game temporarily to the status of sideshow. At the stadium, a futuristic structure set amid paddy fields, high-rise flats and flyovers, policemen and stewards massed around portable televisions to watch the co-hosts' draw with the Americans.

The forecast had been for slight showers, yet the first half was played in a deluge. Hugh Dallas, the Scottish referee, may have felt he was back in Lanarkshire but for the architecture and the heat, making himself at home by showing the yellow card five times by the break.

By that time Portugal's fans were singing in their free plastic raincoats after a 13th-minute goal. Poland were caught napping when João Pinto crossed from what is normally Luis Figo's domain on the right ­ the Real Madrid man had quickly adopted a roving role ­ and found Pauleta unmarked much as Hwang Sun-Hong had been for South Korea's opener against the Poles. Skipping past Tomasz Hajto, his low drive ruthlessly exploited Jerzy Dudek's failure to cover his near post.

Necessity meant Poland had to go forward more purposefully in the second half. On two occasions they looked to be about to test Vitor Baia, but Maciej Zurawski simply ran out of steam after a twisting run and then Jacek Kryznowek toe-ended the ball horribly wide after being sent clear in the inside-right channel. Even when Pawel Kryszalowicz did head an apparent equaliser, Poland's luck was out. Dallas ruled, erroneously, that he had fouled Vitor Baia.

It proved a pivotal moment. Within five minutes, Portugal doubled their advantage after a passing movement bettered only by Senegal against Denmark. Emmanuel Olisadebe, Poland's naturalised Nigerian, made an unwitting contribution by giving the ball to Sergio Conceicão near the Portuguese penalty area. It was quickly switched to the right wing, where Petit speared a pass into Figo's stride. The World Player of the Year whipped in a low cross under pressure, Pauleta sliding in as Marek Kozminski lunged in vain.

Pauleta's third, 13 minutes from time, was less of a team goal, notwithstanding Rui Costa's superb pass. Pauleta feigned as if to shoot with his right foot, throwing Tomasz Waldoch off balance, before swerving to his left and angling the ball into the far corner of the net. With two minutes remaining, moments after Kryszalowicz had skied Poland's best chance over the bar, Rui Costa turned scorer, deftly converting Capucho's low cross. The smile on Eusebio's face was growing broader by the minute.

"All of the players did what they had to do today," the Portugal coach Antonio Oliveira said. "The big difference was the team-spirit. With this attitude, which was not individual but collective, it is easier to get the victory. However, it is not a question of winning our first game or second game, our idea is only to get to the next round. We have got a team that can go further in this competition."

MATCH DETAILS

Portugal 4 Poland 0
Pauleta 13, 65, 77, Rui Costa 88

PORTUGAL (4-4-2): Vitor Baia (Porto); Frechaut (Boavista), Fernando Couto (Lazio), Jorge Costa (Porto), Rui Jorge (Sporting Lisbon); Figo (Real Madrid), Petit (Boavista), Paulo Bento (Sporting Lisbon), Sergio Conceicão (Internazionale); João Pinto (Sporting Lisbon), Pauleta (Bordeaux). Substitutes: Rui Costa (Milan) for João Pinto, 60; Beto (Sporting Lisbon) for Frechaut, 62; Capucho (Porto) for Sergio Conceicão, 69.

POLAND (4-4-2): Dudek (Liverpool); Kozminski (Ancona), Hajto, Waldoch (both

Schalke 04), Kaluzny (Energie Cottbus); Zurawski (Wisla Krakow), Swierczewski (Marseilles), Krzynowek (Nuremberg), Michal Zewlakow (Mouscron); Olisadebe (Panathinaikos), Kryszalowicz (Eintracht Frankfurt). Substitutes: A Bak (Widzew Lodz) for Kaluzny, 17; Marcin Zewlakow (Mouscron) for Zurawski, 56; Rzasa (Feyenoord) for Michal Zewlakow, 71.

Referee: H Dallas (Scotland).

Bookings: Portugal: Frechaut, Jorge Costa, Rui Jorge. Poland: Swierczewski, A Bak.

Attendance: 31,000.

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