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Page last updated at 23:08 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 00:08 UK

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson hails striker Bobby Zamora

Fulham's Simon Davies and Bobby Zamora
Zamora (right) scored his 19th goal of the season at the Volkswagen Arena

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson paid tribute to Bobby Zamora after the striker's 19th goal of the season took the English club into a first European semi-final.

The Cottagers won 1-0 at Wolfsburg to seal a 3-1 aggregate Europa League win.

Hodgson said his striker had outshone Wolfsburg's highly-rated Edin Dzeko and pushed his case for an England call-up.

"I read that the price for Dzeko was 40m Euros [£35m], so we might have to up our price for Bobby Zamora. But we don't want to sell him," said Hodgson.

"I'm sure when Fabio Capello is looking at the players available to take to the World Cup, he will make his assessment. I know Fabio is aware of Bobby as a player, but Bobby can't do any more himself."

With our best teams this year not being able to reach a semi-final of the Champions League, it's a very nice feeling for ourselves and Liverpool to be in semi-finals

Roy Hodgson

Fulham began their Europa League campaign in the third qualifying round with a trip to Vetra in Lithuania on 30 July, and then came through a difficult group which included Italian side Roma and Swiss outfit Basle.

They have since eliminated defending champions Shakhtar Donetsk, favourites Juventus and Wolfsburg in the knockout stages, with Thursday's victory their 16th match in the competition this season.

It is the furthest the Cottagers have ever gone in European competition, after reaching the third round on their only previous campaign in the 2002/03 season.

"When we kicked off this campaign I don't think anyone expected that we would be in a semi-final come the end of April," admitted Hodgson.

"It's a fantastic journey. We have had to do it the hard way. We had a tough group to come out of in the group stages and now we've had three very tough opponents to get to the semis.

"I'm delighted that we've done it and I think we did it with some style and panache."

Fulham and Liverpool - who beat Benfica 5-3 on aggregate in their Europa League quarter-final - are the last two remaining English sides in Europe, following the elimination of Manchester United and Arsenal from the Champions League this week.

"With our best teams this year not being able to reach a semi-final of the Champions League, it's a very nice feeling for ourselves and Liverpool to be in semi-finals," said Hodgson.

"We'll face a very arduous task if we want to get to the final but the main thing is we're in the semi-final and we have that chance."

Zamora gave Fulham the perfect start in the Volkswagen Arena on Thursday, scoring after 21 seconds to cancel out Wolfsburg's late away goal in the first leg and leave the Germans needing two goals to force the game to extra-time.

The goal, which saw him collect Zoltan Gera's pass, turn Jan Simunek and slot home, was Zamora's sixth in Europe this year and his 19th in total in what has been an excellent season for the striker.

r f steele

"He has had a wonderful season this year and shot up in everyone's estimation," said Hodgson. "The only people not surprised by how well he has done is ourselves.

"We worked with him last year and saw how good he was and now he's crowning it with goals as well."

Fulham will face another German side in their first semi-final in the shape of Hamburg, who overcame Standard Liege 5-2 on aggregate.

"We'll be in for a tough game," admitted Hodgson. "They have very good players. It's another magnificent stadium and a place to visit and we'll just have to see what we can do and try to get a result there as well."

Wolfsburg coach Lorenz-Gunther Kostner acknowledged his side were second best and he believes Fulham can reach the final in Hamburg on 12 May.

"We didn't have the team with enough bite and the right attitude tonight," he said.

"We made mistakes and we made the wrong substitutions. I'm sorry, the players are sorry.

"Fulham are a very good team with a very good defence and I'd always warned it was not going to be an easy game.

"If Fulham play in a very compact way like they did tonight then they have a very good chance of making the final."

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Europa League results

8 Apr 2010 23:59 UK

see also
Wolfsburg 0-1 Fulham (agg 1-3)
08 Apr 10 |  Europe
Fulham 2-1 Wolfsburg
01 Apr 10 |  Europe
Europa League photos
08 Apr 10 |  Football
Thursday football as it happened
08 Apr 10 |  Football

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