Mr Motivator vs Mr Magoo as Scolari faces Eriksson again

"I don’t play, I don’t score goals," said Scolari when asked to sum up his input from the bench to Portugal’s bruising win over the Netherlands on Sunday.

"Sometimes the players look outside and they see their group through the face of their coach and they know that even all those on their bench are playing. Maybe I can give an extra yard to a player on the field that wins the game. That’s the spirit that I have. That is what I have done with Portugal."

Admirers of Scolari believe he would have turned England’s squad into a team of world-beaters instead of serial under-achievers, citing his larger-than-life personality, tactical nous and willingness to take difficult decisions.

At Euro 2004, Scolari substituted Portugal’s captain Luis Figo. Eriksson, by contrast, continues to regard the position of his captain David Beckham as sacroscant despite an undeniable waning of the midfielder’s powers.

Scolari is also seen as a vastly superior tactician.

In both encounters between the two coaches, Scolari has shown an ability to think on his feet that has left Eriksson floundering.

He reorganised Brazil superbly when reduced to 10 men against England in 2002 and made crucial substitutions that changed the course of the game in Lisbon two years ago.

Scolari will need to draw on all his improvisational powers once more on Saturday as he attempts to rebuild a midfield that has been depleted by suspension to playmaker Deco and holding player Costinha.

Eriksson’s last chance to put one over on Scolari might be just be his best.