Striker Pauleta scored a hat-trick as Portugal beat Poland 4-0 in torrential rain on Monday to reignite their World Cup campaign and dump the Poles out of the competition.
As the month-long tournament reached its halfway stage, Portugal recovered from their shock 3-2 defeat by the United States to overwhelm the hapless Poles.
Portugal's victory left them on three points in group D, one fewer than both South Korea and the United States, who drew 1-1 earlier on Monday.
Poland, who lost 2-0 to the Koreans in their opener, are out of the tournament without a goal to their name.
Pauleta, whose hat-trick was the first by a Portuguese player at the finals since Eusebio in 1966, opened the scoring in the 14th minute when he brought down a diagonal cross from Joao Pinto on the Portuguese left, turned inside his marker and beat Polish goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek at his near post with a powerful right foot drive.
The Portuguese had the better of the rest of the match but pouring rain turned the pitch into a skating rink, thwarting their attempts to play their trademark fluid football.
But in the 65th minute Pauleta, whose full name is Pedro Miguel Carreira Resendes, added his second, stealing inside his marker and sliding in on the edge of the six metre box to meet a Luis Figo cross and force the ball over the line.
Figo curled a shot against the base of Dudek's left hand post two minutes later as the Portuguese continued to pile on the pressure.
Pauleta completed his hat-trick -- the second of the World Cup -- in the 77th minute, weaving past defender Tomasz Waldoch before slamming a low shot past the unfortunate Dudek.
The rain which many had predicted would be a major feature of this World Cup finally came just before kick-off in the 32nd match of the tournament.
It continued throughout the match, prompting a number of sliding tackles from both sides -- not all of them well timed.
The Portuguese had three players cautioned before the break, while Polish midfielder Piotr Swierczewski and substitute Arkadiusz Bak were also booked.
Swierczewski, shown the yellow card against South Korea, will miss his side's final match against the United States.
Pauleta was a threat to the Polish defence from the start.
Portugal's first real chance fell to him when he fired just wide of Dudek's left hand post from outside the penalty area.
The Poles rarely threatened, despite fielding a three-pronged attack led by Nigerian-born striker Emmanual Olisadebe, whose best effort was a slightly underhit left foot shot which Vitor Baia saved comfortably.
Antonio Oliveira's side continued to dominate in the second half and Poland's only response was a disallowed goal.
Forward Pawel Kryszalowicz headed the ball in following a scramble in the box but was rightly adjudged to have fouled goalkeeper Vitor Baia during the build-up.
Oliveira brought on Rui Costa on the hour to add a further touch of class to the Portuguese attack and the substitute added the fourth goal three minutes from time when he poked home a right-wing cross.
Portugal now face South Korea in their final group match with their World Cup campaign well and truly back on track.
Germany's Miroslav Klose scored the tournament's first hat-trick against Saudi Arabia.