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Saturday, 24 June, 2000, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Golden oldie Blanc wants final goodbye
Laurent Blanc
Blanc after scoring his golden goal against Paraguay
Euro 2000 has reached the golden goal stage, and Laurent Blanc would love to score another for France in their quarter-final against Spain.

The veteran defender became a national hero when he struck in the 114th minute to give France a 1-0 win over Paraguay for a place in the quarter-finals of the 1998 World Cup.

France went on to win the title and Blanc, who had said he was against the sudden-death principle because he felt it was unfair, was forced to change his mind.

"It's a rule and you have to live it," he said. "Germany became European champions that way (in 1996) and it helped us in the World Cup.

"It might happen again," added the 34-year-old. "It can make you happy and it can make you miserable. We have to be ready for it."


Blanc was suspended for the 1998 World Cup Final and watched from the sidelines as as hosts France beat Brazil 3-0 to lift the trophy.

Any match now could be my last - obviously, I hope there will be two more after the one against Spain.

Laurent Blanc
Now playing in his last major tournament, he can only be hoping that he will be on the pitch for the Euro 2000 Final on 2 July.

"Any match now could be my last," he said. "Obviously, I hope there will be two more after the one against Spain.

"But everything has to come to an end. My only concern is to help the team reach its goal of winning the European Championship."

Inside knowledge

Like several members of the current France squad, Blanc has an inside knowledge of the Spanish game, having played for Barcelona in the 1996-97 season.

"I think the Spanish football culture is very similar to ours," he said. "We both believe this game is about skills and is not merely a physical challenge."

Roger Lemerre
Lemerre: Expecting a tough game against Spain
The towering Blanc, now with Inter Milan, will win his 92nd cap against Spain. Only one player in the squad, Didier Deschamps, who is about to earn his 99th, has more.

France's soft-spoken number five is also a useful scorer. He has fired 16 goals for his country, which makes him the second most prolific French player at Euro 2000 after Youri Djorkaeff, who has hit 25.

French coach Roger Lemerre said Blanc might be required to demonstrate his talent for important goals once more against Spain.

"The possibility of a golden goal is something we have to take into consideration," he said. "It could be a long, tight, exhausting game and it might be decided that way."

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22 Jun 00 | Holland
Final challenge for France
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