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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Spain turn to Saez
Inaki Saez
Saez has enjoyed success with Spain's youth teams
Former Spain youth coach Inaki Saez has said he has been asked to take charge of the national team after Jose Antonio Camacho's resignation.

"They (the Federation) have told me that I am the ideal person and that they want me to take the team right through to the Euro 2004 tournament in Portugal," Saez told Spanish sports daily Marca on Wednesday.

Camacho's decision to quit after four years as Spain coach caught the Federation on the hop and they immediately appointed Saez as caretaker.

Many of the likely candidates to replace Camacho have already committed themselves to their clubs next season.

Atletico Madrid president Jesus Gil has already come out and said that club coach Luis Aragones, who was offered the chance of leading the national team before Camacho, will stay.

Deportivo Coruna coach Javier Irureta has insisted he remains committed to the side he guided to the runners-up place in the league last season.

Another of the favourites former Celta Vigo boss Victor Fernandez has only recently signed a two-year deal with Real Betis.

"If I had been told all this a day earlier I would never have believed it," said Saez.

"But I haven't done badly with the youth teams and they now want to give me an opportunity.

Spain coach Jose Antonio Camacho
Camacho lasted four years

"I hope it lasts a long time and that I am successful in the job," he added.

"I have always dreamed about this and now it hascome true."

A former Athletic Bilbao defender who won three caps for Spain in 1968, Saez began his coaching career at the Basque club.

He had brief spells in charge of the first team in the 1980s and early 1990s, before going on to become coach of the Spanish youth sides in 1996 where he has enjoyed considerable success.

He steered the Under-21s to victory in the European championship in 1998 and then led the Under-20s to the World Youth title the following year.

He also coached the Spanish side that won the silver at the Sydney Olympics and has enjoyed recent success with the Under-18 side that finished third in last year's European championship.


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GROUP B
  P GD PTS
SPAIN 3 +5 9
PARAGUAY 3 0 4
SOUTH AFRICA 3 0 4
SLOVENIA 3 -5 0

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