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Deco apologizes for criticizing Portugal coach

By Shrikesh Laxmidas

MAGALIESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - Portugal midfielder Deco has apologized for questioning coach Carlos Queiroz's tactics in their opening draw with the Ivory Coast.

The playmaker was replaced by Tiago after an hour in the 0-0 stalemate with the African side in Tuesday's Group G opener in Port Elizabeth and made his feelings clear after the match.

"Why was I replaced? You have to ask the coach," he had told reporters. "I felt good. He told me to go to the right wing, which I have never done in my career as I am not a winger, then he took me off," added the disgruntled Brazil-born player.

"The way we approached the game in the second half was not right, betting on the direct style was not the best solution."

However, on Wednesday the Portuguese Football Federation issued a statement in which Deco clarified his comments.

"I've never had a problem with the coach and it was not my intention to question his leadership and decisions," he said, adding he was just frustrated at being taken off.

Queiroz is expected to include Deco in his lineup against the mysterious Asian side on Monday despite the incident.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)