home      service centre   |   publications   |   football family   |   competitions   

Saez delighted with Spain's flying start to qualifiers

© Reuters 2002

Spain coach Inaki Saez said he was delighted with his side's perfect start to their Euro 2004 qualification campaign after they took a comfortable 3-0 win over a defence-minded Northern Ireland on Saturday.

"It gives me great satisfaction to see that we have now got six points," Saez was quoted as saying by Spanish sports daily As on Sunday.

"That is going to take the pressure off us to a certain extent and will allow us to approach future matches in a more relaxed frame of mind."

Spain opened their qualification campaign with a 2-0 victory in Greece last month and now top group six, two points ahead of Ukraine who grabbed a 2-0 home win over the Greeks on Saturday.

Saez's side dominated the game against a determined and well-organised Northern Ireland team out to avoid a repetition of the 5-0 drubbing they received last time the two sides met in a World Cup warm-up match in April.

Valencia midfielder Ruben Baraja opened the scoring with a well-timed header on 19 minutes and Guti added a second 14 minutes into the second half when he nodded home a fine cross from young winger Vicente.

Baraja capped a fine individual performance when he wrapped up the scoring with a powerful deflected drive a minute before time.

"The scoreline could have been a lot more favourable as we dominated so completely," said Saez.

"I was very happy with the way we played and it was good to see that we managed to get the early goal we needed."

Saez admitted that he was likely to make a string of changes to the side for their friendly against Paraguay on Wednesday and said that he would rest Raul after the Real Madrid striker felt a recurrence of a leg injury during the match.

"I will make a number of changes for the next match, although I will make sure the team is as competitive as possible," he said.

"Raul felt his injury again and will now be leaving the squad so that he can recover fully for his next club match."

Spain now have a five-month break before they play their next qualifier in Ukraine at the end of March.

Reports provided by

Sunday, 20 October
Seaman says he will not retire from international stage
Saturday, 19 October
South Korea coach sacked
Friday, 18 October
Boniek says he will quit if Poland miss Euro 2004
Israeli teams face heavy Cyprus security bills
Uruguayan footballers threaten to strike
Japan hopeful of Brazil friendly in March
Thursday, 17 October
England held to shock draw by Macedonia
Henry inspires France to 4-0 win over Malta
Superior Dutch sweep Austria aside
Faroese jubilant despite defeat by Germany
Pressure mounts on beleaguered Trapattoni
Mozambican coach resigns after 3-0 defeat
Ballack shines through in dull German display
Gunes unconcerned by Tugay retirement speculation
Japan coach Zico set to stand by Nakamura
Czech Republic 3 Belarus 0 - Euro under-21 result
Greece back in the hunt, says Rehhagel
Wednesday, 16 October
Eriksson wary of Macedonia threat
Tuesday, 15 October
Lizarazu vows to keep playing for France until Euro 2004
Rehhagel position 'not an issue' says Greek federation
Cyprus angered by UEFA treatment
France at full strength to take on Malta
France set to continue renaissance but Italy look shaky
Monday, 14 October
New faces in Poland squad for New Zealand friendly
Balakov doubtful for Bulgaria qualifier against Andorra
Yugoslav press praise impressive 1-1 draw in Naples
Inzaghi to miss clash with Wales
I won't quit says Italy coach Trapattoni
Croatia coach Baric called on to step down
Cyprus objects to postponement of Israel game
Dumitrescu quits as Romanian under-21 coach
McCarthy says he will quit after Euro 2004
N. Korean 1966 World Cup team revisit the past
Gambia hit Lesotho for six in African Nations Cup

  Copyright © 1994-2002 FIFA. All rights reserved.
  Copyright © 1994-2002 En-Linea, Inc. All rights reserved.