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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 June, 2004, 21:17 GMT 22:17 UK
Saez saddened by early exit

Spain coach Inaki Saez
Spain coach Inaki Saez could not hide his disappointment after Portugal knocked his side out of Euro 2004.

He said: "The players are extremely low. We had great hopes for this tournament and had qualification within our grasp, but it wasn't to be.

"We worked very hard in the first half but they provided all the passion. The goal came from a half-chance and we had to go for the game after that.

"We had some good chances but the ball just would not go in."

Saez was, however, generous in defeat and extended his compliments to Portugal counterpart Luiz Felipe Scolari and his team.

"At the end of the match I went to congratulate my friend Scolari," he said.

We're improving with every game and we showed the country they can look forward to better things
Portugal's Luis Figo

"We have to congratulate Portugal because they have done their jobs. They have given everything with the support of the crowd behind them."

The Spanish have earned a reputation for under-performing on the biggest stage, and Saez admited history had repeated itself once more.

"For a long time we have not had a convincing result in a major tournament even though we have qualified," he said.

"I believe this time it is due to the fact that we haven't scored (enough)."

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas was damning in his verdict of Spain's performance.

He said: "Portugal were all over us. It was our worst game in Euro 2004 and we just didnt give what we had to give.

"We're going home because we deserve to and that's uncomfortable for all of us. We can't complain about this result."

Links to more Spain stories



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