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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 March, 2003, 07:25 GMT
Bend it like Stocklasa
By John Sinnott

Martin Stocklasa (r) in action for FC Zurich against Newcastle in the Uefa
Stocklasa (R) plays in the Swiss league for FC Vaduz
Liechtenstein captain Martin Stocklasa is the Principality's very own David Beckham.

Just as the England captain has scored some crucial goals for his country, Stocklasa has shown he is a player with the goalscoring knack during his 35-cap career.

Before Euro 2000 he scored against Germany, when Leichtenstein lost 3-2 to their neighbours, in a game the minnows were drawing with their powerful neighbours until the closing stages.

Last summer Stocklasa also created a piece of football history when he became the first Liechtenstein international to score a hat-trick in the 3-3 draw with Luxembourg.

"It was a historical moment for Liechtenstein and an incredible game," Stocklasa told this website.

"I scored the hat-trick, but we had two men sent off and in the end we drew, so I didn't know what to feel afterwards."

In 100 games between Leichtenstein and England, 99 times England will win. But in soccer anything can happen
Leichtenstein captain Martin Stocklasa

Having played in Switzerland for FC Zurich for three years, Stocklasa now plays for the Liechtenstein club FC Vaduz, who have provided eight players for the national squad for the England game.

Stocklasa's brother Michael also plays for FC Vaduz as well as the national side and scored the goal that secured Liechtenstein a 1-1 draw with Macedonia in their opening Euro 2004 qualifier.

By a quirk of history, much like Cardiff and Monaco, FC Vaduz are a club that do not play in their own league.

The Principality club play their football in the Swiss Second Division, with FC Vaduz currently involved in the play-offs to win promotion to Switzerland's top league.

Despite playing across the border in Switzerland, FC Vaduz still enter their own country's cup competition.

It was by that route that the club reached this season's Uefa Cup, unluckily losing to Livingston after Croat referee Ivan Novak ruled out Marius Zarn's goal three minutes into injury time.

If Zarn's goal had stood, FC Vaduz would have qualified for the Uefa Cup first round.

The Stocklasa brothers are part of a young Liechtenstein squad brought together by coach Ralf Loose, who previously played for Borussia Dortmund.

"Ralf Loose is the team," added Stocklasa.

"He came here to do something special and already he has done that as a lot of people didn't think it was possible to win any points with Liechtenstein.

"We know we can't qualify for a major tournament. But Loose still gives us goals and motivates every player to give his best.

Liechtenstein striker Mario Frick
Liechtenstein's Mario Frick plays in Italy's Serie B

"Okay we were beaten 5-0 by Turkey, but each game we know take some more small steps to become a better side.

"As long as we do that the players don't become frustrated. Frustration only comes when you reach your limits and that hasn't happened yet."

Stocklasa insisted that the game with England will be the biggest test so far of Loose's team.

"Liechtenstein have never played a qualifying game like this.

"For everyone it's the biggest game of their careers. Since the draw was made everyone has been looking foward to it."

Nearly 10% of Leichtenstein's population will cram into the tiny Rheinpark Stadium on Saturday in the hope of witnessing a football miracle.

"The chances of us winning are quite small," admits Stocklasa.

"In 100 games between Leichtenstein and England, 99 times England will win. But in soccer anything can happen."

After gaining his Abitur - the Leichtenstein equivalent of "A" levels - Stocklasa went to meet the Prince of Liechtenstein.

He can expect a second summons to meet the Prince if Leichtenstein surprise Sven-Goran Eriksson's side.

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