LISBON: Attendance at Euro 2004 is about to crack the 1 million mark. Attendance through the first two quarter-finals is 943,345. The magic number is likely to be passed on Sunday in Porto when the Czech Republic face Denmark at 50,000-seat Dragao stadium. The best-attended game was Thursdayâ€™s quarter-final between England and Portugal, which drew 62,564 to Benficaâ€™s Stadium of Light. The second-best attended game was also at the Stadium of Light (62,487) as France defeated England 2-1.
LISBON: Roy Hodgson, former Swiss national coach and former coach of Blackburn Rovers, ruled out fatigue to explain why all of Europeâ€™s â€œBig Fiveâ€ teams are out. â€œI find that hard to accept,â€ he said. â€œSoccer is tiring at any level you play, whether you play in Serie A or the Premier League. It would be unfair to say to the Greeks: â€˜Your league is not tiringâ€™.â€ He called Englandâ€™s exit â€œbad luck,â€ said France had not â€œplayed up to its potential,â€ and blamed Germanyâ€™s failure on poor results leading up to Euro 2004. He also noted Italy exited without losing.
Beckham gets â€˜Aâ€™ 5
LISBON: On a scale of 1-10, Britainâ€™s national news agency the Press Association rated England captain â€˜5â€™ for his play in Euro 2004. The star was 18-year-old Wayne Rooney, who scored four goals and picked up â€˜9â€™ rating. â€œEnglandâ€™s captain gave everything, especially in defensive support of Gary Neville, but is expected to produce far more offensively, where he was a major disappointment,â€ the agency wrote. â€œA for effort, â€˜Câ€™ for performance.â€
Coin toss questioned
LISBON: British reporters have questioned why referee Urs Meier tossed a coin twice before the penalty shootout between Portugal and England. In a statement, UEFA said the first was to determine which end would be used. The second determined which team went first. Portugal won the second toss, and opted to start second.
Italy, Portugal fined
LISBON: UEFA fined Italy $2,400 for having too many people on the bench during their match against Sweden. Portugal was also fined the same amount for having too many on the bench against Spain.