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Rivals undaunted by big Blues

Published: Friday 27 January 2006, 20.30CET
Group B: UEFA EURO 2000™ final opponents France and Italy tower over an incredibly competitive section but Ukraine and Scotland are not overawed.
Published: Friday 27 January 2006, 20.30CET

Rivals undaunted by big Blues

Group B: UEFA EURO 2000™ final opponents France and Italy tower over an incredibly competitive section but Ukraine and Scotland are not overawed.

France and Italy tower over an incredibly competitive Group B but Ukraine and Scotland will be keen to cause an upset in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying. The group features three FIFA World Cup finalists in Ukraine, France and Italy - whose meeting will revive memories of the UEFA EURO 2000™ final. uefa.com rounds up the reaction.

You can't say a draw is good or bad - you have to play the games first. I'm pleased to play against a big team like Italy. I've wanted to play them for a long time. You can't say it will be easy, because I remember how people thought we would qualify easily for the World Cup and see what happened. At the moment the priority is the World Cup in Germany and after that we will think about the EURO.
Raymond Domenech, France coach

Our group is very exciting and very difficult. There are strong teams with great tradition like France, while Ukraine were probably the best side in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. Scotland are also improving very quickly and can be dangerous. However, at this moment, I can only focus on our opponents in Germany. We will start thinking about France and the rest after the World Cup.
Marcello Lippi, Italy coach

We always get one of the strongest qualifying groups, but the principles of the Ukrainian national side remain the same: we respect all our opponents and fear none. Few regarded us as favourites for our 2006 World Cup campaign but we won the group and will travel to Germany this summer. Now we will fight for a ticket to UEFA EURO 2008™.
Oleh Blokhin, Ukraine coach

It's a very tough group as France, Italy and Ukraine all qualified for the World Cup by topping their pools. It will be important to make a good start and not have to play catch-up as we did in the World Cup campaign.
Walter Smith, Scotland manager

I believe we have been drawn in one of the strongest qualifying groups, but formidable opponents motivate a team to perform at their best. The matches against European big guns like Italy and France will be like a great footballing holiday in Lithuania. We have never played France before. I am also happy we avoided Group A against three teams from the former USSR.
Algimantas Liubinskas, Lithuania coach

I think it's a good group. There are good teams in it - three of the teams will be playing at the World Cup in Germany. It will be difficult for us, but it's certainly interesting. I have very good memories of Hampden Park in Glasgow, and I hope we can play as well there as Bayer 04 Leverkusen did [when losing the UEFA Champions League final in 2001/02].
Klaus Toppmöller, Georgia coach

Last updated: 28/01/06 22.22CET

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