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Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK
Negative? Not us says Semb
Nils Johan Semb
Semb denies "negative" Norway paid the price
Norway coach Nils Johan Semb has been left to reflect on what might have been after his team were dumped out of Euro 2000.

Having thought their 1-1 with Slovenia would take them into the quarter-finals, Norway's dreams were dashed as Spain fought back in their clash against Yugoslavia to win 3-2..

Semb said: "I was kept in touch with the score from the other game but as our match was drawing to a close I was concentrating on what was happening here.

"It was only when I saw a Spanish journalist celebrating that I knew we were out. It's a bitter disappointment to be so close to going through and for all that to change in the space of a few minutes.

Norwegian midfielder Erik Mykland, voted man-of-the-match, added: "We were all really down in the dressing room. It's a terrible way to go out of the tournament."

Cautious

Semb denied suggestions that Norway, widely seen as ultra-defensive and over-cautious, didn't deserve to make the last eight.

"We go out to win every game we play," he claimed. "But we have had three hard battles in our group matches and we have found it difficult to create chances.

"I wouldn't say that we are a negative team, I just think that things have been tight in all of our matches.

"We tried to be positive against Slovenia, especially in the last 20 minutes when we found out Yugoslavia were in front, but we did not put enough pressure on their goal.

"Slovenia still had a chance to qualify so they were quite defensive and tried to hit us on the break but our keeper had little to do."

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See also:

21 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Slovenia v Norway clockwatch
21 Jun 00 | Photo Gallery
Slovenia v Norway in pictures
18 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Yugoslavs ease past Norway
13 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Steffen stuns Spaniards
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