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   June 5, 2002 | 2000 IST



France get the blues

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Basic mistakes caused defeat: Figo

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Talent-packed Portugal's shock 3-2 defeat to the unfancied United States on Wednesday was down to basic mistakes rather than a lack of physical fitness, FIFA player of the Year Luis Figo said.

Figo's fitness has been a talking point since he was out of action for two months last season with an ankle injury, and since he was taken off 30 minutes before the end of last month's Champions League final, which his Real Madrid club won 2-1.

AC Milan playmaker Rui Costa has also had an injury-plagued season and his distribution on Wednesday was below par.

"Physically we had no problems which explain our defeat, because after going down at the start, we had the initiative and I think that despite trailing 3-0 in the first half we always had possession," Figo said after the Group D game in Suwon, South Korea.

"In the second part, it wasn't that we were off form and hadn't managed to control the game or keep possession. I think our problem was to have committed basic mistakes which gave the result to the United States," he added.

"In the World Cup finals it is extremely difficult to come back from 3-0 down in the first half. We tried in the second to still get a draw. We had some chances, but it's not that we failed, we made mistakes."

Portugal conceded three goals in the first 36 minutes of the game.

Figo said his ankle injury had not troubled him during the match, in which one of his corners set up Beto Severo's first goal for Portugal.

"In injury terms, I felt perfectly fine. I had no pain in my ankle, and I am happy to an extent with that, but I can't feel content about the result," he said.

Figo said Portugal's only option now was to win both their remaining games, against Poland and then co-hosts Korea, and "count the points".

"Regarding the two remaining teams, the fact that one of them has already had a win means we have to win both games," Figo said.

South Korea beat Poland 2-0 on Tuesday.

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