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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
How they qualified: Spain
Spain were the outstanding favourites to win Group Six, but eventually had to secure their Euro 2004 berth via the playoffs.

Spain celebrate their win over Norway
07.09.02: Greece (a) 2-0
12.10.02: N Ireland (h) 3-0
29.03.03: Ukraine (a) 2-2
02.04.03: Armenia (h) 3-0
07.06.03: Greece (h) 1-0
11.06.03: N Ireland (a) 0-0
10.09.03: Ukraine (h) 2-1
11.10.03: Armenia (a) 4-0
15.11.03: Norway (h) 2-1
19.11.03: Norway (a) 3-0

The Spanish, under the guidance of Inaki Saez, began their road to Portugal with a comfortable 2-0 win in Greece, before they made light work of Northern Ireland thanks to a Ruben Baraja brace.

But then came problems. They were holding a 2-1 lead against Ukraine until the final seconds when Olexandr Horshkov equalised with a well-taken volley.

Spain managed to brush aside Armenia at home. But their crunch match was against closest challengers Greece.

In front of the Saragossa crowd, the home side were largely in control of the game before Stylianos Giannakopoulos' strike from outside the area beat goalkeeper Iker Casillas just before half-time.

It was imperative for Spain to get back on the winning trail, and with minnows Northern Ireland lined up in the next match it seemed as if the Mediterranean giants would do just that.

But Saez's men wre held to a surprise goalless draw by their Norhern Irish visitors.

Spain were now relying on Greece to slip up, and that never materialised.

Despite winning their last two matches, home to Ukraine and an emphatic win away to Armenia, it was all to no avail as Greece grabbed the win they needed against Northern Ireland.

So to the play-offs. The Spanish were drawn against Norway, and played the first leg in front of a packed Valencia crowd.

Real Madrid's Raul put the hosts ahead before Steffen Iversen equalised.

An own goal by Henning Berg gave Spain the advantage going into the away leg.

The decider seemed destined to be a thriller. Not many would have expected the one-way traffic that saw Spain score three goals, including one from Raul which made him Group Six's leading scorer.

Team P W D L GF GAPts
Greece 8 6 0 2 8 4 18
Spain 8 5 2 1 16 4 17
Ukraine 8 2 4 2 11 10 10
Armenia 8 2 1 5 7 16 7
N Ireland 8 0 3 5 0 8 3

Links to more Spain stories




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