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  Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 21:57 GMT
Euro 2004 Group 1
Euro 2004 qualifying Group 1
BBC Sport Online looks at the countries drawn in qualifying Group 1 for Euro 2004.


France
Coach: Jacques Santini
It is two years since France have had to worry about the lottery of qualifying for a major competition.

The French automatically qualified for the World Cup in 1998 by dint of hosting the tournament.

They also qualified for this year's World Cup finals as champions but failed to qualify from their group and subsequently asked their coach Roger Lemerre.

Jacques Santini is the new man in charge.

Despite winning Euro 2000, France did not have an easy job of progressing to the finals in Belgium and Holland.

Indeed les bleus had to wait until the final day of the qualifying group stage to make sure of their presence as they struggled to beat Iceland at home 3-2.

Group 1 fixtures
2002
Sept 7: Slovenia v Malta, Cyprus v France
Oct 12: France v Slovenia, Malta v Israel
Oct 16: Israel v Cyprus, Malta v France
Nov 20: Cyprus v Malta
2003
Mar 29: Cyprus v Israel, France v Malta
Apr 2: Slovenia v Cyprus, Israel v France
Apr 30: Malta v Slovenia
June 7: Israel v Slovenia, Malta v Cyprus
Sept 6: France v Cyprus, Slovenia v Israel
Sept 10: Israel v Malta, Slovenia v France
Oct 11: Cyprus v Slovenia, France v Israel
The nucleus of the side which won France '98 and Euro 2000 remains in place, with Arsenal midfielder Patrick Viera's worldwide reputation growing daily and club team-mate Thierry Henry in devastating form in attack.


Slovenia
Coach: Bojan Prasnikar
Former Sampdoria midfielder Srecko Katanec guided his nation to three successive major tournaments during his four-year reign in charge.

But he decided to step down from his role following a public falling out with Slovenian playmaker Zlatko Zahovic during the World Cup.

He has been replaced by Bojan Prasnikar, who signed a four-year deal with the Slovenian FA back in July.

Just 10 years after Slovenia gained independence, the country's football team is now ranked in the world's top 25.

Slovenia's rapid rise owes more to an ever-positive approach that was in evidence during the opening round of Euro 2000 finals games.

Despite his World Cup tantrum, Zahovic remains their most potent outlet.


Israel
Coach:Avraham Grant
Richard Moller Nielsen stepped down from the helm of the national side in June despite being offered a fresh two-year deal.

He was heavily criticised for failing to take Israel to a World Cup play-off place.

Already hurt by a play-off loss during qualification for Euro 2000, Israel missed out on a place following a last-minute goal scored by Austria.

Israel last made it to a major finals - the Mexico World Cup - in 1970 but new coach Avraham Grant can call on a strong squad of young players this time around and hopes to put the country's near misses behind them.


Cyprus
Coach:Moca Vukotic
The last thing Cyprus needed in their bid to improve on previous qualifying performances was to be drawn in the same World Cup group as Holland, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland.

That they emerged with some credit is mainly down to star striker Michael Konstantinou, who now plays for Panathinaikos.

Konstantinou scored the goals which sealed two wins over fellow minnows Andorra and will once more be an integral part of their bid to make a mark on Group 1.


Malta
Coach Siegfried Held
When Carmel Busuttil bowed out of international football after 113 appearances for Malta, he left a team struggling to make headway among the European giants.

Malta gave England a scare ahead of Euro 2000, when they almost snatched a draw in a friendly, but were denied by a penalty save from Richard Wright.

Success has been sparse since, however, and Malta remain a minnow and will be unlikely to trouble the top teams.

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Portugal welcome Euro 2004
All the build-up to Euro 2004

How the groups line up

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