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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Morientes fears exit

By Paul Fletcher
Our man in Portugal

Morientes scored Spain's goal against Greece
Spain striker Fernando Morientes has admitted his team's hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals at Euro 2004 hang by a thread.

Spain could only manage a 1-1 draw with Greece and now face a crunch tie with Portugal on Sunday.

"Nobody wanted to arrive at the Portugal game having not qualified," Morientes told BBC Sport.

"It would have been nice for both Spain and Portugal to qualify but we will have to see what happens."

Spain won their last game against Portugal - a 3-0 win in a friendly last year.

But Morientes was adamant that will count for nothing in Lisbon.

"The match against Portugal will be very different to the friendly," he added.

"It will be a tough game for both teams. But in these kind of competitions you know you have to play three games in a short space of time and have to win if you want to be in the quarter-finals."

The Real Madrid striker scored Spain's goal in their 1-1 draw with Greece.

Portugal beat Russia in Wednesday's other Group A game, leaving Spain and Greece with four points, with the hosts on three.

Greece play Russia, who are already eliminated, in their final group match.

Assuming surprise-package Greece win, Portugal and Spain will contest the second place in the group.

It will be a big game
Barcelona defender Carles Puyol on the challenge of facing Portugal
A draw for Spain would be enough - but Morientes reckoned their qualification should have already been virtually assured.

"It was a difficult game against Greece but we were the better team," he said.

"We did the most difficult thing, which was to score first.

"But they did the very defensive style of play they like and took advantage of that.

Barcelona defender Carles Puyol agreed that Spain now face a difficult test.

"We feel pretty down and disappointed. We had some chances and could have scored another goal.

"But they were tough opponents and now we have to play Portugal. It will be a big game."

Links to more Spain stories



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