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Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Lawrenson hails his favourite game
Spain
Spain celebrate their winning goal against Yugoslavia


BBC television and radio pundit Mark Lawrenson was in Bruges for Tuesday's game between Yugoslavia and Spain and he cannot recall seeing a better match in his life.

There have been plenty of excellent games at Euro 2000 but I have never witnessed anything quite like the match between Yugoslavia and Spain.

I am struggling to think of more thrilling game I have attended and have to say this was the best.

I was in Barcelona for the Champions League final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich where there was a fantastic last couple of minutes but this was a roller-coaster from minute one.

It was like when you were a kid and you played attacking and defending. At one stage Spain had five forwards like in the old days with two wingers, two inside forwards and a centre forward.

Pace


Alfonso celebrates
The game was all played at such pace with great touches and skill. It was fantastic football and it restored my belief in the game. It was worth coming to the tournament just for this match.

The strange thing is, I never expected it to be a good game let alone one of the greats. Yugoslavia just needed a point and Spain had not made the best start to the tournament.

Once Yugoslavia took the lead I expected them to retreat into their shell and I thought we were in for a dull game with Spain camped in the Yugoslavian half and the Yugoslavs frustrating them by amassing in defence.



It was fantastic football and it restored my belief in the game

Mark Lawrenson
Yugoslavia are such a fine footballing nation with so much ability but there is also a dark side.

When they get in front there is a lot of gamesmanship, they start demanding opponents get booked or sent off and they stop playing. So for the game to end 4-3 in the way it did was remarkable.

Relentless

Yugoslavia kept attacking and when they scored, Spain responded immediately - it was unrelenting.

When Yugoslavia took the lead for the third time there was a look of amazement and bewilderment on the faces on the Spanish players.

But Yugoslavia were desperate for the match to finish. They had no idea what was happening in the Slovenia - Norway game and when Spain grabbed the winner they besieged the referee out of sheer desperation.

As Spain's players and supporters were overcome with joy, Yugoslavia looked crestfallen until they heard the good news from Arnhem and you had the unusual sight of both sets of supporters celebrating but it was that kind of evening.

It's great for the tournament to have both these teams going through and few will miss Norway who have almost sent me to sleep.

I just hope after such a wonderful match the rest of the tournament is not an anti-climax.

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See also:

22 Jun 00 | Yugoslavia
Ref vilified by Yugoslavs
22 Jun 00 | Spain
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