COLOGNE, Germany -- The early cheers for a classy goal soon faded to jeers for Portugal.
At least it won its World Cup opener, though, breaking a slump in first games at major tournaments by hanging on against newcomer Angola for a 1-0 victory last night.
The often-inventive Portuguese didn't look like a favorite in Group D, failing to impress against the inexperienced Angolans. By the end, they were hearing the unhappiness from a crowd frustrated by their sluggish play.
Indeed, many fans were cheering the Angolans in the dying minutes.
Portugal was stunningly beaten in its openers at the 2002 World Cup by the United States and the 2004 European Championship by Greece despite boasting some of Europe's most talented players. One of them, Pauleta, scored his 47th goal for Portugal in the fourth minute, tapping into an empty net after captain Luis Figo sliced through the Angolan defense and drew out the goalkeeper.
But there wasn't a lot more creativity -- and no more goals.
``It was a tough game. The early goal calmed us down and we could have got three or four more," Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. ``But in the second half, the Angolans improved, and at times they were better than us."
Still, the Portuguese extended their unbeaten run to 16 games over the past 16 months. They might regret failing to score more against a lower-ranked team if the group's top spot comes down to a tiebreaker.
Angola, an impoverished former Portuguese colony in Africa whose players are mostly from lesser-known clubs, occasionally tested the jittery Portuguese defense, but lacked sophistication. Angola committed 29 fouls to 20 for Portugal.
The players displayed no bad blood after their bruising encounter five years ago in which four Angolans were ejected for dirty tackles and the game had to be abandoned 20 minutes from the end.
Portugal, making its fourth World Cup appearance, largely outplayed the Angolans in the early stages. But it faded badly, allowing the Angolans back into the game and keeping the outcome in doubt.
Pauleta, Portugal's all-time leading scorer, twice came close to stretching Portugal's lead in the first 15 minutes. He side-footed a shot past the goal post after Simao Sabrosa broke free, then volleyed over the crossbar when Angolan goalkeeper Joao Ricardo charged off his line.
Cristiano Ronaldo also put a header off the crossbar, and he nearly made it 2-0 seconds before halftime, but his hard shot was saved by the keeper.
In the second half, a rocketing shot from Andre Macanga forced Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo Pereira to dive at full stretch to prevent a tying goal.