THE PRESIDENT of Portugal, Cavaco Silva, spent an hour chatting with the Portuguese national team before their departure for Switzerland on Sunday for the Euro 2008 championships.
Unlike the World Cup in 2002, when the then Portuguese Prime Minister José Manuel Durão Barroso called on the team to “bring back the cup”, Cavaco Silva simply wished the players ‘good luck’ and asked them to do their best for Portugal.
At the reception committee at Palácio de Belém, the President recalled the “brilliant result” Portugal gained as vice-champions at the Euro 2004 in Portugal and the “excellent result” in the World Cup in 2006 when Portugal came in fourth place.
Cavaco Silva said he hoped for an “honourable result” in the Euro 2008 Championships in Switzerland and Austria that begin tomorrow (Saturday).
Echoing the euphoric feelings of the thousands of fans that crowded in front of the President’s official residence before the national squad headed off to the airport, Cavaco Silva said he shared the “strong hopes of the Portuguese people that the Portuguese team would succeed in bringing back some happy news” from the championships.
During the ceremony in which he received a souvenir album of photographs of the players from the World Cup 2006 as well as a certificate bestowing on him ‘honorary team membership,’ Cavaco Silva said that the support and enthusiasm of the thousands of Portuguese fans living in Switzerland should not be forgotten.
The President of the Portuguese Football Federation, Gilberto Madaíl, promised the President that the national team would “honour Portugal”.
After the reception held in the Ambassador’s Hall of the Palace, Cavaco Silva invited the players for a cocktail party on the terrace in front of the gardens, where they were photographed in front of a view of the River Tejo. Tomorrow, in Switzerland, the national team will play Turkey in its first match.
Also read Sport news on pages 15, 16 and 17.
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