Deco in media muddle

Portugal's Deco controls a ball during a training session in Magaliesburg June 13, 2010.  REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro  (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Portugal's Deco controls a ball during a training session in Magaliesburg June 13, 2010. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

PORTUGAL fans will be hoping that coach Carlos Queiroz and his players will be on the same page for this afternoon's match against Ivory Coast at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

PORTUGAL fans will be hoping that coach Carlos Queiroz and his players will be on the same page for this afternoon's match against Ivory Coast at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

This wasn't the case yesterday, when Queiroz and stylish playmaker Deco made contrasting statements regarding Portugal's opening World Cup match against the African giants.

Queiroz, who spoke to the media before Deco, said it was vital that they get the three points against Ivory Coast.

"We have to get the three points in the beginning," said Queiroz, a former Bafana Bafana coach.

"Scoring that first goal will be a motivation and encouragement and we'll do everything to score as many goals as possible."

But midfielder Deco, who plays for English Premiership champions Chelsea, contradicted his coach's assessment.

"I don't believe the first game is more important than the last one. It's obviously important to win, but if we win two matches, we will be in the next phase," Deco said.

The Brazilian-born playmaker also wished Elephants skipper and Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba a speedy recovery.

"I have not spoken to him but I hope he plays. He is a good player and a good friend of mine. If he plays, that would be good for the game," Deco said.

Regarding Nani, who suffered a shoulder injury in training, Deco said it was natural that the Manchester United winger was feeling down.

"We spoke to Nani and any player in his situation would feel that frustration."

Portugal are among Europe's underachievers, along with the likes of Holland, something Queiroz hopes to rectify.

"All the players are ready to play, including Cristiano Ronaldo who is captain of the team and also an icon," Queiroz said.

"Our preparations for the World Cup have come to an end and it is now time to play.

"We want to play the best football yet."

lSee Page 11 in the Let's Go 2010 supplement inside.

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