Portugal underlined its status as favourites for the gold medal in Athens with a convincing 5-0 win over Paraguay at the Algarve Stadium last week. Fulham’s over-age player Luis Boa Morte put in a great display and Euro 2004 star Cristiano Ronaldo was also on the mark after 37 minutes.
Alex Ferguson pulled out of the club v country tug-of-war, preferring a magnanimous stance over his rising young star’s participation, which should see Ronaldo emerging as one of the stars of the Games. The Algarve’s grand new arena did nothing to enhance its reputation by opening just one ticket counter for the game, resulting in a queue of almost 2,000 fans stretching into the car park. Most of the frustrated would-be spectators did not make it into the stadium before the half-time interval.