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Sunday, 16 June, 2002, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Spaniards thank lucky stars
Spain keeper Casillas in blue, Raul on right
Spain striker Raul congratulates keeper Casillas
Spain coach Jose Antonio Camacho blamed the referee for his side being taken into extra-time before winning a dramatic penalty shoot-out against the Republic of Ireland.

But his players were breathing a huge sigh of relief and thankful that fortune had decided to smile on them to secure a passage into the World Cup quarter-finals.

Fernando Morientes had given Spain a first-half lead but that was cancelled out in the last minute of normal time through Robbie Keane's penalty.

Defender Fernando Hierro conceded a penalty for a foul on Niall Quinn and it was the Republic's second chance from the spot after Ian Harte's earlier miss.

Spain coach Jose Antonio Camacho
Camacho's side paid for sitting back

"A referee can't blow for that kind of penalty in the World Cup at the end of 90 minutes, but then again you have to accept it," said Camacho.

"The Irish were putting pressure on us at the end and the referee was blowing for everything, meaning they could do what they wanted."

He added: "We had three or four opportunites and the referee blew for offside.

"I'm not sure they were offside and I don't think the final penalty (Keane's) was a penalty.

"The Irish put on a lot of pressure but we should have resolved this before the end of 90 minutes."

Open Quote
We had some bad luck at times but in the end luck was on our side
Close Quote
Gaizka Mendieta

Spain paid the price for sitting back after taking the lead and the Republic seemed the more likely to score in golden goal extra-time.

Camacho added: "We had to play that last 30 minutes with two injured players and another on the sidelines (David Albelda).

"In the end luck was on our side."

Gaizka Mendieta scored the winning penalty and echoed those sentiments.

"This game was all about luck," said Mendita. "We had some bad luck at times but in the end luck was on our side.

"Penalties are always a lottery. We should have won this game in normal time but everything worked out in the end."

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas,21, saved two of the Republic's three missed spot-kicks in the shoot-out and one from Harte in normal time.

He said: "To save penalties is all about luck.

"It would have been unfair for us to go out after they equalised with a penalty in the last minute."


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Spain manager Jose Antonio Comacho
"We had three or four opportunities"
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