Portugal suffer with siege mentality

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The Independent Football

The Portugal squad are upset by a story in which Pauleta, Portugal's all-time leading goal-scorer, apparently criticised the talents of the England goalkeeper Paul Robinson. It came in the week the Russian referee Valentin Ivanov criticised Portugal's players for having a culture of unfair play, after their stormy second-round match against the Netherlands.

The Portugal squad's media officer preceded yesterday's press conference by announcing that English journalists would be able to ask only three questions, adding to the sense that the Portuguese camp has developed a siege mentality in recent days.

During the press conference, Pauleta said: "If you know Portugal's history, we are not afraid of anybody. The only thing we want is to be respected."

Meanwhile, Everton's Nuno Valente said: "I don't agree England are playing badly. People said the Spanish team were playing best in this tournament and they are now out.

"But we are all going to be fit on Saturday. We have had six days to rest."