England’s inability in front of goal, which had seen them crash out of the World Cup 12 months previously, came back to haunt them as Don Revie’s honeymoon period came to a soggy end at Wembley.
On a wet and dismal night England were booed off the field as they proved incapable of breaking down a dogged Portuguese side. Once again they were thwarted by an inspired keeper as Vitor Damas produced a string of saves to deny the home side.
Six months after a goalless draw had seen the end of Sir Alf Ramsey’s reign as boss, Don Revie turned to his trusted Leeds United players to try to and find a way through the massed ranks of the Portugal defence. His hopes that Terry Cooper could provide a threat from left back were ruined by a leg injury the Leeds defender picked up midway through the first half that forced him off the field and ended his international career.
Up front Allan Clarke provided little threat, although Mick Channon alongside him was much more dangerous, forcing Damas into a string of saves, some of which he seemed to know little about.
The best chance of the night fell to Dave Thomas, the game changer against the Czech’s who was given his first start, The QPR man was fed by his club colleague Gerry Francis and sent a shot goalwards from six yards out, only to see Damas produce a miraculous one handed save to claw the ball from above his head and off the line.
England’s first half dominance was washed away with the Wembley rain, and the second half was a litany of misplaced passes and dead ends. At the final whistle chants of “What a load of rubbish” rang in the team’s ears as they left the field. Revie could only agree with the fans and commented that “It was a bad performance. We didn’t deserve anything more than a draw.”