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Boa constricted

Filed: Saturday, 6th June 2009
By: Staff Writer

Luis Boa Morte returned to the international fold tonight with a starting berth in Portugal's World Cup qualifier against Albania.

However it was to be a short-lived return for the United winger who was replaced at half time - with the score at 1-1 - by Athletico Madrid's Simao.

Despite the presence of Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo on the opposing flank to Boa Morte and Simao the Portuguese continued to struggle aganst the Group 1 minnows, and were more than a touch fortunate to grab a winning goal deep into injury time (courtesy of Bruno Alves).

Elsewhere today Lucas Neill - whose future at West Ham is very much in the balance - led the Socceroos through to next year's World Cup finals with a goalless draw in Qatar. The current Hammers captain played a full 90 minutes in Doha.

As mentioned elsewhere Robert Green and Matthew Upson both starred in England's 4-0 rout of Kazakhstan (no such luck for Carlton Cole who failed to make the 18-man match squad) whilst Jack Collison missed out on Wales' 1-0 win in Azerbaijan with a knee injury.

* James Tomkins has revealed that he has been preparing for the England under-21's forthcoming fixture with Azerbaijan by teaching Hammers team mate Mark Noble a lesson on the golf course.

Speaking to thefa.com from the squad's Spanish training camp, he said:

ďItís great to be here and to be involved with this side. I got the call-up after a good season with my club and Iím trying to enjoy every moment, training with and getting to know the lads.

"They are a very good group and have helped me settle in pretty easily. I obviously know Nobes so heís been great, but itís really not been difficult, the lads have welcomed me in. Iíve just loved having this opportunity.

"We have a bit of spare time in the afternoon. It gives us a chance to relax ready for what we have to come. A few of us have had a couple of games of golf and Iíve been playing against Nobes and beating him! Iím playing off around 20, but hopefully I can bring it down.

ďEveryoneís buzzing about Sweden now, and weíre really looking forward to getting started. Yes we have a tough group but we are confident that we can have a good Championship."

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