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Spa - Nor (0-1)
Slo - Spa (1-2)
Yug - Spa (3-4)
Fra - Den (3-0)
Cze - Fra (1-2)
Fra - Hol (2-3)
Spain made it through to the last eight in dramatic fashion in the
closing seconds against Yugoslavia, after losing their opening match to Norway, and can
think themselves lucky to still be in the tournament at all.
Now the competition gets underway in earnest
and World Champions France will test the Spaniards to their limits.
Whether Spain concentrate on their game, or
try to cut out Zidane's effectiveness in sending the speedy Nicolas Anelka and Thierry
Henry through, will decide the sort of match we'll see. Fast and furious with
entertainment in mind, or slow and cautious to keep things tight.
France look faster and
stronger than the team who beat Brazil two years ago and must fancy their chances here.
On the statistical downside, Spain have never
beaten France in a competitive fixture and lost 0-2 to their neighbours, in the Final of
France84. Then it was Platini who tormented the Spaniards, while this time it's Zidane who
looks set to run with the bulls; if the matadors can't stop them.
To win this game, the Spaniards will need to
find the character that gave them the kiss of live against Yugoslavia and provide a lot
more for their fans to shout about than a few oles around the middle of the park.
If France go on to to win the European
Championships, they will be the first reigning World Champions to do so. The balance and
depth of talent in the team seems to suggest they could well do it.
Statistics to Date:
| -- Goals Scored:
|| -- Bookings:
Jose Etxeberria (1)
Pedro Munitis (1)
Thierry Henry (2)
Laurent Blanc (1)
Youri Djorkaeff (1)
Christophe Dugarry (1)
David Trezeguet (1)
Sylvain Wiltord (1)
Red Cards: (none)
Red Cards: (none)
2-Michel Salgado, 3-Agustin Aranzabel, 5-Abelardo, 7-Ivan Helguera,
4-Josep Guardiola, 16-Gaizka Mendieta, 18-Paco Jemezd,
9-Pedro Munitis, 10-Raul, 11-Alfonso Perez.
15-Lilian Thuram, 8-Marcel Desailly, 5-Laurent Blanc, 3-Bixente Lizarazu,
7-Didier Deschamps, 10-Zinedine Zidane, 6-Youri Djorkaeff, 4-Patrick Vieira,
12-Thierry Henry, 21-Christophe Dugarry.
Referee: Pierluigi Collina
Spain played their best football of the tournament so far as they tried to take the game
They trail 1-2 at half-time, but the teams are
level in performance. If anything, Spain could claim the edge.
Munitis, for the Spaniards, has looked
outstanding on the left. The tiny man is marked by Thuram and has been felled more than a
couple of times.
Seven minutes from half-time, Thuram was
troubled by Munitis again and caught the Spaniard's foot in the French penalty area.
side-footed sweetly from the spot to level the score for Spain; having sent Barthez the
France had taken the lead five minutes before,
from a Zidane free-kick; straight into the
top left corner. No chance for Canizares.
Spain could have taken the lead in the 23rd
minute, when Raul beat the offside and shot first time; forcing a great reflex push over
the bar from Fabien Barthez.
Dugarry suffered a nose-bleed a few minutes
later but calmly played on with a tampon up his nose and blood on his shirt; which he had
A minute before half-time, Vieria by the D
sees Djorkaeff running to his right. The
ball is laid on for the Kaiserslauten player who has to check his step before coolly
lifting the ball in the top right.
A great relief for the World Champions to go
into the break in front.
No goals in the second half, although the pace after the restart was brisk. Then it
started getting untidy and the Italian referee, Pierluigi Collina, had to put five names
in his book; in the space of fifteen minutes.
France were technically better while Spain
showed their nerves and lack of faith in themselves again.
In the last minute of normal time, the
Spaniards were thrown a lifeline; a penalty, as Barthez pulled down Abelardo by the
You could have heard a till-receipt drop to
the ground in Madrid, as Raul stepped up to the spot. He looked nervous, aimed for the top
left corner-hand of the goal and missed the target completely.
Spain 1 -- France 2
Miss of the
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