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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
Hartson eyes place in history
Wales striker John Hartson
Football Focus
Sat 6 Sep, 1210 BST, BBC One

Wales striker John Hartson says Mark Hughes' team will become legends if they beat Italy and progress to the 2004 European Championships in Portugal.

Wales go to Milan's San Siro stadium for Saturday's Group Nine clash two points ahead at the top of the five-nation table.

Victory for Wales would virtually book their ticket to Portugal, and Hartson is confident that the team can repeat October's famous 2-1 home win over the Italians.

"The win over Italy will go down in history now," Hartson told BBC One's Football Focus.

"Its okay having a bit of history but we want to be the team that took Wales to Portugal 2004.

"As players we want to do what legends like Mark Hughes, Ian Rush, Dean Saunders and Neville Southall have never done.

We've come so close - we want to finish top of the group, we don't want to go to the play-offs
Wales striker John Hartson

"They're legends in Welsh football and we've got an opportunity to do that now. We really have put ourselves in a great position and it's up to us as players to go and finish the job off.

"It's going to be such a difficult game, it will be very intimidating in the San Siro. But we have to try and stay positive and believe we can take something from the game."

Wales began their Euro 2004 qualifying campaign with four straight wins, only to slip-up against Serbia & Montenegro two weeks ago.

And while Hartson admits he would have been happy with a play-off place at the start of the campaign, he admits that failure to qualify automatically would be a huge disappointment.

He said: "Serbia, Finland and Italy - I would have snapped your hands off for second place at the start of the campaign.

"But all of a sudden now people are expecting us to finish above Italy in the group.

"We couldn't even beat Moldova 18 months ago and we were getting four or five thousand at the Millennium Stadium.

"The turn around under Sparky has been unbelievable. Now we've come ever so close, we want to finish top of the group, we don't want to go to the play-offs.

"So it's all to play for on Saturday. It will be a really tough test over there but the boys are looking forward to it."

  • Watch Football Focus on Saturday to see the full version of this interview.

    Wales striker John Hartson
    "It's going to be such a difficult game"

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