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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Spain hope for better luck
EURO HISTORY
Santiago Canizares is in despair after Spain's Euro 2000 exit
Best performance:
Winners 1964
Recent performances:
1980 R1 1984 Runners-up 1988 R1 1992 Did not qualify 1996 QF 2000 QF
When the year ends in four, Spain more often than not reach the final of the European Championship.

Hosts in 1964, Spain beat the Soviet Union 2-1 in the final in front of 120,000 fans, Marcelino Martinez's winner coming six minutes from time in Madrid.

In 1984 Spain also reached the final, only to lose 2-0 to hosts France.

Michel Platini opened the scoring with a weak free-kick that Luis Arconada should have saved and Bruno Bellone's chipped goal finished Spain off.

Spain had qualified for that championship in the most remarkable way.

They needed to beat Malta by an incredible 11 goals in their final qualifier - and they did it, winning 12-1.

But fortune has deserted Spain in the last two tournaments.

In 1996, they lost to England on penalties in the quarter-finals, despite Jose Camacho's side enjoying the better of a tense encounter.

Four years later Spain were involved in one of Euro 2000's classic games, performing a late, great escape in a stormy encounter against ten-man Yugoslavia.

Spain looked down and out as they trailed 3-2 deep into injury time, but goals from Gaizka Mendieta and Alfonso gave Camacho's team a heart-stopping 4-3 victory.

In the quarter-finals Spain met France, the first time the two countries had faced each other in the competition since the 1984 final.

Zinedine Zidane gave France the lead only for Mendieta to equalise with a penalty, while a Youri Djorkaeff goal gave Roger Lemerre's side a 2-1 half-time lead.

French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez then conceded a penalty in the game's final minute only for Real Madrid striker Raul to embarrassingly put his spot-kick high and wide.

Spain will hope the year 2004 brings better luck.





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