Portugal end England hopes
Portugal 2 England 2
A disappointing draw in Lisbon has virtually ended England's hopes of automatic qualification for the 2001 European Women's Championship finals.
An expected victory would have kept alive their slim chance of catching group leaders Norway, but coach Hope Powell concedes that her team will now have to settle for second place and a play-off tie for qualification.
Against a Portuguese side they had comfortably beaten at home in February, England twice had to come from behind to snatch a draw through Tranmere winger Sue Smith's equaliser 10 minutes from time.
"It was a poor performance, but at least the girls persevered and in the end they ground out a result," said Hope Powell after the game.
"I thought Portugal's first goal was offside, but I'm not making excuses. The girls realised they didn't play as well as they can - and we can't just assume we are going to get that second place.
"Norway look certain to win the group, so we have to make sure we beat Switzerland in our next match to guarantee us the runners-up spot."
On a tight pitch in Sacavem's small third division stadium, overlooked by a massive factory to the north and the fabulous Vasco da Gama bridge to the south, Powell's side were always chasing the game after going behind in the seventh minute.
A mistake by Arsenal full-back Faye White led to winger Anabela racing through and providing a simple chance for striker Carla Couto to slide the ball home from 10 yards.
England forced their way back into the game but never threatened to score until Everton winger Karen Burke produced a moment of individual brilliance five minutes before the interval. Cutting in from the right, Burke swept past two defenders before striking a low left-footed shot just inside the near post.
The equaliser gave England a much-needed lift and they opened the second half brightly, but they were rocked again when Patricia hit an excellent 57th-minute goal.
Seconds earlier Anabela had posted a warning with an 18-yard shot which Croydon goalkeeper Pauline Cope had saved with an outstretched leg. But when Patricia latched onto Maria Joao Xavier's lofted pass 15 yards from goal, the winger hammered in a tremendous volley which gave Cope no chance.
England were stunned and seemed on the way to defeat until Smith drew the scores level with only the visitors' second on-target effort of the match. White headed down a Burke corner and the Tranmere winger controlled the ball before thumping a five yard shot into the roof of the net.