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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Molina suffers after Spanish howler
Paco Molina
Molina's mistake against Norway was a costly one
Spain's chances of progression in Euro 2000 have taken a hammering after losing to Norway - and goalkeeper Paco Molina is having to take the blame.

Halfway through the second half of a tight opening game, Molina ventured out to try and catch a long free-kick from his Norwegian counterpart, Thomas Myhre, but Steffen Iversen out-jumped him and headed in the winner.

This was only Spain's second loss under Jose Antonio Camacho, since he took over in 1998, and Molina is devastated.

"It looked like a straightforward long lobbing shot and I thought I could get to it easily," the keeper said after the game.



I'm destroyed. It was one of those things

Paco Molina
"That's why I went out so far. I'm destroyed. It was one of those things."

The error comes at a bad time for the goalkeeper, as he has just completed a disastrous season with Spanish club Athletico Madrid, suffering relegation to the second division for the first time in decades.

Spain have a habit of entering tournaments as one of the favourites and being undone by goalkeeping blunders.

At the 1998 World Cup in France, Spain lost the first game against Nigeria, after Andoni Zubizarreta fumbled a save and needlessly palmed the ball into his own net in a 3-2 defeat.

Another infamous blunder was when the Spanish were beaten 2-0 by France in the Euro 1984 final when goalkeeper Luis Arconada fumbled a Michel Platini free-kick over the line.

Molina's howler is likely to reinforce criticism as to why the Spanish coach uses him over Spain's two other keepers, Real Madrid's Iker Casillas or Valencia's Santiago Canizares.

Support

Camacho stood by his choice and gave Molina some much needed support.

"It was simply an unfortunate mistake," said the coach.

"I'm not going to blame or pardon Molina. Goalkeepers are like that; one minute they save a penalty and the next they make a big mistake."

Molina will be hoping the sympathy extends as far as keeping him as Spain's number one for their next game against Slovenia on Sunday.

Spain can ill-afford any more mistakes.

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See also:

13 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Steffen stuns Spaniards
13 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Semb hails Spanish upset
10 Jun 00 | Spain
Guardiola: 'We must improve'
10 Jun 00 | Spain
Camacho locks out media
14 May 00 | Squad
Jose Francisco Molina
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