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European quartet in Olympic draw

Published: Wednesday 9 June 2004, 15.13CET
Italy, Serbia and Montenegro, Portugal and Greece have learnt who their opponents will be at the Olympics.
Published: Wednesday 9 June 2004, 15.13CET

European quartet in Olympic draw

Italy, Serbia and Montenegro, Portugal and Greece have learnt who their opponents will be at the Olympics.

Italy, Serbia and Montenegro, Portugal and Greece today discovered who they will face in this summer's Olympic Games men's football tournament in Athens.

Composition of groups
Greece, competing for the first time since 1952, will face the Korean Republic, Mali and Mexico in Group A, while Italy - gold medallists in 1936 - have been drawn in Group B alongside Paraguay, Japan and Ghana. Serbia and Montenegro will take on Argentina, Tunisia and Australia in Group C while Portugal must face Costa Rica, Morocco and Iraq in Group D. The first two teams in each group will qualify for the quarter-finals.

'Difficult group'
Claudio Gentile, coach of the Italy side who qualified as UEFA European Under-21 Championship winners, said: "It's a difficult group. Ghana are physically strong and they are used to the heat so they won't have problems in Athens. Paraguay have eliminated Brazil in the South American pre-Olympic tournament and this says everything about their strength. Japan are quick, technically skilled and have several promising players. It means we will have to work hard and arrive in Athens in our best physical and mental condition."

Italy win U21 crown
The Italians won the U21 crown last night by beating Serbia and Montenegro 3-0. Portugal snatched the third and final slot after edging out Sweden in the third-place play-off. Greece qualified automatically as Olympic hosts, as they did for the women's competition where they will be joined by Germany and Sweden. The men's tournament - which features U23 teams from these countries - runs from 11-28 August

Last updated: 09/06/04 20.26CET

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