Euro 2000 (England vs Portugal Group Stage): The 2000 UEFA European Football Championship, also known as Euro 2000, was the 11th UEFA European Championship. The finals of this year’s tournament were co-hosted, for the first time this happened, by Belgium and the Netherlands. France won the tournament, by defeating Italy 2–1 in the final, via a golden goal.
Aside from the breath taking action in the finals, the opening match of the group stage between Portugal and England is considered as one classic match in Euro history. Group stage was chosen from teams who finished in the top two positions in each of the four groups progress to the quarter-finals, while the bottom two teams in each group were eliminated.
The action happened in 12 June 2000 wherein England is no doubt the crowd favourite. This opening group game at proved to be an absolute thriller in Eindhoven. Following the controversies surrounded by David Beckham’s red card at the 1998 World Cup and later death threats and burning effigies, England bounced back to once again dominate a major tournament.
With the powerhouse team composing of the likes of Paul Scholes, David Seaman, David Beckham, Alan Shearer and Michael Owen, expectations were high among English fans, adding pressure to Kevin Keegan’s men that aims to “bring football home”. Romania battled out a brave 1-1 draw with Germany in their opening match.
During the action, England led the match with Paul Scholes header after just three minutes that was followed by Steve McManaman side-footed into the net in less than 20 minutes later. A flying two-goal start in their opening against Portugal in Group A boosted the English side. Nuno Gomes’ goal was ruled out for a minimal offside decision straight after England’s second.
Going into the half-time, Luis Figo and Joao Pinto equalized the match. Figo rocketed into the top corner of David Seaman’s net, via a Tony Adams deflection in the 37th minute. Meanwhile, Pinto launched himself into one of his trademark diving headers, sending the ball flying into the corner of the net via the inside of Seaman’s right-hand post, the goalkeeper again was defeated by the opponent’s clinical tactics.
England’s Michael Owen was injured in a first-half tackle and replaced with Emile Heskey. Owen being sidelined weakened the defence of the Three Lions. After an hour of football action, the winning goal came. Rui Costa’s cross found Nuno Gomes in vast of space behind Tony Adams that was followed by wild celebrations on the pitch and in the terraces.