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Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Spain buoyant after fine triumph
Michel Salgado
Salgado (left) has a slight knee injury
Michel Salgado and Fran are hopeful of being fit for Spain's quarter-final with France on Sunday despite picking up knocks in their amazing 4-3 win over Yugoslavia.

Salgado suffered an injury to his right knee while Fran needed three stitches in a head wound after a clash of heads.

But both players, along with defender Fernando Hierro, who missed with the match with a thigh problem, should be available to coach Jose Antonio Camacho as he bids to build on Wednesday's dramatic victory.

Two goals in injury-time saw Spain beat Yugoslavia 4-3, a result both the players and press have hailed as a truly memorable triumph.



On the edge of the impossible

Spanish newspaper El Mundo referring to Spain's win over Yugoslavia

"Long live the mother who gave birth to you," said sports daily Marca in a massive headline that took up the front page.

"On the edge of the impossible", read a headline in El Mundo, while every newspaper carried pictures of the team's wild celebrations at the final whistle.

State radio took great delight in replaying over and over a commentator's delirious description of the all-important winning goal by striker Alfonso.

Midfielder Ivan Helguera added that the match had even eclipsed his experience of Real Madrid's recent Champions League victory.


Javier Fran Gonzalez
Fran had to have stitches after a clash of heads
"I've never played in a game like that," he said.

"I watched the game on TV when we got back to the hotel and I just couldn't believe it.

"We got the champagne out last night for a small celebration but it was no great party. We haven't won anything yet."

Alfonso himself was relieved rather than ecstatic at his side's great escape.

"I'm sure you can imagine the atmosphere in the squad now," he said.

"Things weren't working out for us early in the tournament. Norway caused us problems in the first game and in the second we came up against a Slovenia side that can really play football.

Pressure

"This should calm things down after all the talk about us being favourites before the tournament. The expectations in Spain were really too high and there was so much pressure on us."

Both Helguera and Alfonso said they were looking forward to the quarter-final against world champions France but sounded a note of caution.

"France will be the favourites against us," said Alfonso.

"They have players of the highest quality but it's only one game now. It's very different from a league situation."

Helguera added: "The game against France is going to be very difficult but they'll be wary of playing us too."

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See also:

21 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Camacho calm after heroic display
21 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Spain v Yugoslavia clockwatch
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