Valero ensures victory for Spain
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Turkey 0-1 Spain A goal from Borja Valero two minutes into added time gives Spain a deserved final victory.
By Andrew Haslam at Colovray Sport stadium
The midfield player, an 85th-minute replacement for Victor, twisted and turned his way into the Turkish penalty area and produced a perfect chip from the corner of the box to leave goalkeeper Sener Özcan's helpless and win a typically tight final.
Spain made only one change that defeated Ukraine 4-1 on penalties in the semi-final with Roberto Soldado replacing Joan Tomas up front. Turkey, meanwhile, were without midfield players Olcan Adin and Sinan Turan through suspension although Zafer Sakar returned after his one-match ban with Sezer Öztürk, scorer of two long-range goals in the last four success against Switzerland, also starting.
Any pre-match fears the atmosphere might suffer as a result of the hosts' absence proved unfounded as Spain kicked off amid noisy support for both teams. It was the Spanish who settled the quicker. Victor and Juanfran probing for openings and full-backs Sergio Ramos and Javier offering attacking outlets down either flank.
Soldado had four brief glimpses of goal in the early stages. Acrobatically volleying over in the seventh minute before failing to connect with Victor's perfectly-flighted cross seconds later. Two Silva set-pieces then created further chances for the striker but again his aim was too high.
Turkey began to settle as the half wore but Müjdat Yalman's side struggled to find a way through a solid Spanish rearguard. Although Sezer Öztürk shot over from a free-kick. It was Spain who looked the more likely scorers, however, with Soldado the most obvious source of danger and the forward dragged his shot wide of Özcan's near post two minutes past the half-hour mark.
The Spanish striker was involved again minutes later, turning Juanfran's pass into the path of Victor but the forward's shot was straight at Özcan. The Turkish goalkeeper was forced into more urgent action soon after racing from his line to block Soldado's volley after the striker had worked space on the edge of the penalty area with a clever turn.
Turkey introduced Emre Aygün at half-time and were immediately rewarded by a more positive opening to the second period. Ali Oztürk twice shooting past the post in the first five minutes. Spain quickly responded and it took some desperate defending to deny first Victor then Soldado from Juanfran's low cross.
Spanish substitute Jaime Gavilán then curled a shot straight at Özcan before Juanfran raced clear down the right, but his cross was fractionally behind Soldado and the striker could only shoot over. Soldado was proving a constant menace and had two more chances in quick succession, volleying wide from a corner and then forcing Özcan into a diving save low to his right. The Real Madrid CF forward's through-ball then looked to have set Victor clear but Hakan Arslantas came to Turkey's rescue with a perfectly timed challenge
Spain were pressing as the end of normal time approached and Valero might have settled the contest with two minutes left but shot wide from inside the penalty area. Albiol then headed against the outside of the post from Gavilán's free-kick a minute later and extra time looked a certainty but then came Valero's moment of brilliance.