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Reflections on night of drama

Published: Thursday 20 November 2003, 18.30CET
The exciting climax to the UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifying campaign drew a mixed reaction.
Published: Thursday 20 November 2003, 18.30CET

Reflections on night of drama

The exciting climax to the UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifying campaign drew a mixed reaction.
The climax to the UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifying campaign will have drawn a mixed reaction across Europe, as people woke up today to the twin realities of victory and defeat. While they will be all smiles in Croatia, Latvia, Russia, Spain and the Netherlands, folk elsewhere will have reason to feel rather down in the mouth. Here is what the papers are saying:

Croatia

Dado Pršo is the new hero of Croatian football. This virtuoso sent a whole nation into raptures with his goal. After a hard and difficult period we are on the big stage again. (Vecernji list)
There are not words to describe a brilliant triumph like this. It spent a lot of nerves but it was worth it. (Sportske novosti)

Latvia

19 November will be written in golden letters in Latvian history books, as the day the Turkish stronghold fell. (Telegraf)
Out of hell with a victory - the Turkish baths were not so hot.(Diena)

Netherlands

The much-criticised Advocaat gained his biggest victory with his best football. Symptomatic of this new style was the fact the team kept hunting for goals, even when the Scots had surrendered and the Tartan Army were already looking for the Amsterdam beer pumps. (De Volkskrant)

Russia

They did it. After losing to Belgium in Korea/Japan, after conceding a decisive goal to Ukraine in the build-up to EURO 2000, after losing play-offs against Italy in 1997 they won a match with everything at stake.
We won this war, and thankfully did not have to do so at a cost of fair play. If Yartsev's squad can carry this morale and commitment into the summer, we won't have to be shy in Portugal. (Sport-Express)

Scotland

Scotland's dream died a miserable death last night. Humbled and humiliated, the visitors' heady expectation after their first-leg victory was drowned in a cauldron of oranje to ensure that Holland, strutting where they had briefly stuttered, secured passage to Portugal. (Guardian)

Spain

Spain qualify for EURO 2004 after a brilliant performance that met all the demands of coach Iñaki Sáez. (El País)
Raúl, as Sáez requested, took the reins and opened the way to victory. (Marca)
Tremendous Valerón, Vicente and Xabi all shone against an impotent Norway team. (AS)

Turkey

We thought we had the visa for Portugal when Ilhan Mansiz and Hakan Sükür scored, but we were destroyed by goals from Jurijs Laizans and Maris Verpakovskis. We were drowned in the play-off, after a result which was not becoming of a team who are the third in the world. (Hürriyet)

Wales

Will Ryan Giggs never grace a World Cup or European Championship finals? The Manchester United winger is 30 this month and he will heed the words of his national team manager, Mark Hughes, who had given warning that "these opportunities come along so rarely in life and in football". Particularly when you play for Wales. (The Times)

Last updated: 30/11/03 16.14CET

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