FilGoal | News | Abel Xavier – From glory to the bottom in 27 minutes


The course of football matches turns out to be beyond the imagination of any follower, in one second it can take you to the top of glory and in another second it can send you to the bottom without the slightest mercy.

This is what happened at Euro 2000 with Portugal defender Abel Xavier.

But before detailing what happened with Xavier, he was a controversial player and did not stay in any team during his football career for more than three years.

The Mozambican defender played for 13 teams in his career from 1990 to 2008.

Perhaps the most remarkable strange thing he did in his career was his transfer from Everton to the enemy and traditional rival Liverpool in the middle of the 2001-2002 season.

The move was not strange in itself, as we have seen many players playing for two rivals, but Xavier is the only player in the history of the Merseyside derby who played for Everton and Liverpool in the same season.

He played the first leg in the league with the Toffees, and in the second leg he wore the Reds shirt.

Since then, this has been the last transfer of any player from Everton to Liverpool.

But what happened with Xavier on June 28, 2000 was dramatic and exciting.

Portugal returned to participate in the major tournaments at Euro 2000 after missing the 1998 World Cup.

A historic generation for the team nicknamed the Brazil of Europe, which included Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Nuno Gomez, Pauleta and goalkeeper Vitor Baia.

The Portuguese team started the tournament with an exciting victory over England in the first round, with three goals to two goals, after it was two goals to zero.

He defeated Romania with a goal without a response, and destroyed Germany, the champion of Euro 1996, with three goals to nothing in the last round.

In the quarter-finals, he defeated the Turkish national team with two goals without a response.

Then came the decisive moment, when France met the world champions in the 1998 semi-finals.

Prior to that match, the most remarkable achievement in the history of the Portuguese national team in the Euro was to qualify for the semi-finals of the 1984 edition before losing to France itself, which later crowned the title for the first time in its history under the leadership of Michel Platini.

From the top of glory to the bottom

Portugal achieved the same achievement, defeating France and qualifying for the final to meet Italy, which overcame the obstacle of the hosts, the Netherlands.

Indeed, Nuno Gomez advanced to Portugal with a goal in the 19th minute, but Thierry Henry equalized for the Dukes in the 51st minute.

The match remained at a hot pace, with an opportunity here and another there, and it was clear that whoever scored a goal would snatch victory and pass to the final.

In the 90th minute, Luis Figo sent a perfect cross, which was met by Abel Xavier himself, with a very strong header, in front of which France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez starred and turned it into a corner kick.

The two teams had to resort to two extra games, and thus the golden goal rule was activated.

Each team kept pressing and roaring until the 27th minute of the second extra period and Sylvain Wiltord passed the ball to David Trezeguet, against whom Portugal goalkeeper Vitor Baia tried to jump and catch the ball, but failed.

Wiltord took advantage of it and hit the ball, but Abel Xavier, who was on the goal line, hit the ball with his hand and he fell and she went to a corner kick.

Referee Guenter Benkow consulted with his assistant, and in the end, the latter awarded a penalty kick to the French national team for a handball on Xavier.

Objections erupted from the Portuguese players, Luis Figo took off his shirt to protest, Nuno Gomez was sent off, and the Portuguese players, Paulo Bento, were prevented from assaulting the referee.

While Abel Xaver poured all kinds of insults at the Austrian government.

But in the end, the penalty kick was played, and Zinedine Zidane scored the killer golden goal to send France to the final, eliminate Portugal and repeat the 1984 scenario.

Repeating the scenario for France was crossing Portugal equal to winning the title.

big punishment

After the tournament, Abel Xavier was suspended for nine months for insulting the referee, and the sentence was reduced to six months.

In 2005, Xavier was suspended for a year and a half due to his doping test, before the sentence was reduced to 12 months.

In 2007, Abel Xavier moved to America and played for the Los Angeles Galaxy with David Beckham for a season before retiring.


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