Castilla y León AMA coach Javier Yepes has cooled talk of his side winning Monday's UEFA Regions' Cup final, saying: "It's a dream for Spanish amateurs to be European champions but for the moment it is only that."
Article top media content
The triumphs of Spain at UEFA EURO 2008™ and FC Barcelona in Rome last month confirmed the country as Europe's dominant football force and now, having reached the UEFA Regions' Cup final with a game to spare, Castilla y León AMA can provide the nation with more continental glory.
Having won Europe's two most prestigious tournaments, victory for Castilla in Monday's final would complete a clean sweep of national, club and amateur competitions for Spain. Before that, though, Castilla have to play Group B's bottom side, Savez Gradiška AMA, in Jastrebarsko at 17.30CET today and for coach Javier Yepes, all thoughts of lifting the 43-centimetre high trophy can wait for the time being.
"It is a dream for Spanish amateurs to be European champions but for the moment it is still only that," said Yepes, who knows his side face a tough examination in the final whoever they face with three sides still in contention to qualify from Group A. "Our opponents in the final will be a very good team. They will have won their group so they know the pressure, but we will try to be calm."
While Castilla top the section with a perfect record, Savez Gradiška have yet to get off the mark, though coach Slobodan Crnadak is not surprised with the shape of the group after two matches. "We were hoping to defeat Kempen [on Matchday 1], while we knew Region I would be a difficult match but the standings as they are after two rounds are pretty much how I thought they would be."
Region I AMA take on Kempen AMA in the other match in Samobor, with second place in the section and a bronze medal up for grabs. Both sides will make changes: Kempen will be without the suspended trio of Tom Cox, Pieter Martens and Nurullah Kocak, while Region I full-back Kenneth Hoey injured an ankle during the defeat of Savez Gradiška. "We've come to a tournament with 18 players and it's normal that we will let some other players play," said Francis Jadoulle, the Kempen coach, alluding to other, unforced changes he may make.
Hoey ruled out
Gerry Smith, the Region I manager, added: "We've got a few knocks, Ken Hoey might have a fractured ankle or torn ligaments so that's one down but we'll do a headcount and then we'll have a look at Kempen's last game and see how that went."