Vol. 5 Num 558 Wed. December 21, 2005  

Figo hopes big

Inter Milan star Luis Figo is confident that Portugal, runners-up in Euro 2004, can win next year's World Cup in Germany.

"As a player I expect to take part in a great championship. As far as the team is concerned, I believe Portugal can win the World Cup in Germany, although the big favourite is Brazil," he told the Record sports daily.

The FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001 has said he will retire from international football after the World Cup finals in Germany.

Figo, 33, announced he was taking an indefinite break from international football shortly after Portugal's 1-0 loss to Greece in the final of the Euro 2004 in Lisbon.

But in May Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who led his native Brazil to the World Cup in 2002, recalled Figo for World Cup qualifiers against Slovakia and Estonia after the player said he was ready to return to the squad.

Portugal are in Group D along with Iran, Mexico and debutants Angola in the first round of the 2006 World Cup.