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Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK

Metsu praises his 'heroes'

Senegal coach Bruno Metsu was full of praise for his World Cup debutants following their 1-0 golden goal defeat at the hands of Turkey.

The Dakar Lions, playing in their first World Cup, provided the first shock of the tournament when they beat holders France 1-0 in the opening game.

And the defeat ended what has proved an amazing journey for a young team looking to become the first African country to qualify for the semi-finals.

"I take my hat off to the players, not just as players but as men. They are marvellous men and it is no wonder everyone has fallen in love with them," Metsu said.

" We have shown that we are capable of upsetting the hierachy of world football "
Bruno Metsu

En route to the quarter-finals they beat Sweden as well as France, and drew with Denmark and Uruguay playing open, exciting and attractive football.

"It is extraordinary what we have done and we have learned a great deal," he added.

"Yes, we lost to Turkey but if we made any mistakes they were down to the errors of youth and over-enthusiasm.

"I am very proud of the players. It is a great honour to coach such a nice, flexible team. They were heroic and to lose in extra time proves our players are heroes.

"We came up against a great Turkish team - but it could have gone either way.

"I am very proud of my players and we have come and shown that we are capable of upsetting the hierachy of world football.

"It gives us a lot of hope for the future and the development of football in our country and in Africa."

Metsu also believes that there could be more shock results in this World Cup following on from the trend his team started on the opening day and had a warning for Brazil.

"Turkey are a very, very good team with a lot of individual talents playing in some of Europe's biggest league.

"They have only lost once here - to Brazil - and they were probably a bit unlucky to lose that match," he said.

" We could not have done any more "
El Hadji Diouf

Senegal's star striker El Hadji Diouf admitted that was hard to lose by a golden goal.

The Liverpool-bound striker was contained by the Turkish defence for much of the game.

"It's hard, hard, hard but that's how the game goes," he said of the sudden-death exit.

"It is so hard, but one day or another our run had to stop. This is the way God wanted it. We gave it our everything, but luck was with Turkey.

"It's a shame but we have no regrets. We could not have done any more."


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