Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

October 16, 2005

Scots face home truths

Filed under: EURO 2008 — Ivan @ 8:20 am

The News Review:

* BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | England seeded for Euro 2008…
* The dream team
* Kerr to get thumbs down on FAI D-Day as balance ends in the red
* Scots face home truths
* Situation vacant: Football manager/ miracle worker
* UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
* BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | Changes ahead
* Smith begins to look to Europe for redemption
* Talent pool runs dry for Ireland
* Scotland sign off in style
* Scotland can look forward to bright future with Smith
* Former Wales international
* CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Bayern hit by last-gasp setback
* Taylor dodges blame game
* SOCCER: Healy feels the frustration
* Football Europe – News & Features – News Specific
* Giggs Still Hungry for United and Wales
* FIFA World Cup – News & Features

BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | England seeded for Euro 2008…
BBC News – Oct 14, 2005
Scotland have been placed in the fourth tier of teams, Wales in the fifth and Northern Ireland in the sixth for the draw on the 27 January 2007. The seedings for each country have been based on qualifying for Euro 2004 and next summer’s World Cup in Germany. If Greece were not the holders they would only just have made it into the second tier with Germany making the top seven. Hosts Switzerland and Austria qualify automatically for the 16-team tournament. The remaining 50 teams will be split into six groups of seven and one of eight with the winners and runners-up qualifying for the tournament. Theoretically, England could be drawn with either Italy or Germany and be in the same group as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Pools by seed for Euro 2008 draw:Pool 1: Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, England, Czech Republic, France & SwedenPool 2: Germany, Croatia, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Spain & RomaniaPool 3: Serbia-Montenegro, Russia, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Ukraine & SlovakiaPool 4: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Latvia, Israel, Scotland & SloveniaPool 5: Hungary, Finland, Estonia, Wales, Lithuania, Albania & IcelandPool 6: Georgia, Macedonia, Belarus, Armenia, Northern Ireland, Cyprus & MoldovaPool 7: Liechtenstein, Azerbaijan, Andorra, Malta, Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg & San-Marino.

The dream team
Irish Independent – Oct 14, 2005
FAI target Ferguson and Keane to lead Ireland into brighter future in the aftermath of the disappointing 2006 World Cup campaign under Brian Kerr THE FAI are targeting a dream team of Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane to succeed Brian Kerr at the helm of the Ireland soccer team. Association chiefs are prepared to wait until the end of the Premiership season next May in the hope that they can entice Ferguson to become manager with Keane as his assistant. With Ireland set to be fourth seeds for the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign and the FAI needing to generate millions from the sale of corporate boxes and premium seats to pay their contribution towards the cost of the new Lansdowne Road stadium, the FAI desperately needs to ensure that interest in the national team remains at its current high levels. They believe that Ferguson, the most successful manager in the history of the English game with 27 major trophies including a Champions League title, is the man for the job and can have the same impact that Jack Charlton had when he was appointed in 1986. After 19 years at the Manchester United helm, Ferguson is coming to the end of his managerial campaign at club level and his former assistant Walter Smith will be leading their native Scotland into the Euro 2008 campaign. The fact that Scotland will be seeded fourth along with Ireland in the draw for the Euro 2008 qualifiers is also likely to help the FAI pull Ferguson. Another big factor in the FAI’s favour is Ferguson’s long-standing friendship with FAI Chief Executive John Delaney and his father Joe, the former FAI Treasurer… Other names likely to be in the frame include former England, Barcelona and Newcastle United manager Bobby Robson, who would be viewed as a stop gap appointment because of his age, while the fan’s favourite at this stage is former Celtic boss Martin O’Neill and the bookie’s have plumped for David O’Leary. Kerr’s contract ended on Wednesday night and the association’s Board of Management will meet next week to review his performance and decide whether or not to renew his contract. It’s odds on at this stage that the ten directors will not give Kerr a chance to make amends for the failure to qualify for next summer’s World Cup finals even though he has left the door open. “If the association want me to continue I will certainly consider continuing,” said Kerr in the aftermath of Ireland’s failure to reach the play-offs on Wednesday night. U21 manager Don Givens, who took over in a caretaker capacity when Mick McCarthy resigned three years ago, is expected to once again step into the breach in the coming months until a new manager is appointed. In a statement issued yesterday Delaney paid tribute to the commitment and dedication shown by Kerr, his players, backroom team and the Merrion Square staff in the quest for World Cup qualification. “Unfortunately, despite the highest levels of planning and preparation by Brian and all the support team, our collective efforts have not been sufficient to take the squad to Germany next year,” said Delaney.

Kerr to get thumbs down on FAI D-Day as balance ends in the red
Irish Independent – Oct 14, 2005
They will recall the loss of a two goal lead to Israel at home, the defeat by France, the poor performance in beating Cyprus and the failure to beat Switzerland yet again. They will digest the statistic that in both campaigns Ireland failed to register a win over the teams that eventually finished above them and their biggest competitive scalp was a 2-1 win at home to Georgia, who were ranked 84th in the world at that time. They will then look at the seedings for Euro 2008 and reflect that Ireland are now fourth seeds having been first seeds for the Euro 2004 qualifying draw. They will also look at the world rankings and note that while Kerr brought Ireland to its highest ranking since September 1995, when the team reached 12th place, the side have dropped nine places since March and at 21st are now out of the top 20 for the first time since November 2001. They will also note that of the players used in the recent campaign only eight – John O’Shea, Andy Reid, Graham Kavanagh, Liam Miller, Alan Maybury, Alan Lee, Gary Doherty and Stephen Elliott – were not part of Mick McCarthy’s World Cup squad. In Brian Kerr’s defence they will note that they had a manager who worked long hours and travelled thousands of miles each month to watch players and assess opponents. They will also consider his tremendous dedication to Irish football and in his interest in not only the senior international team but also his hands-on interest in the well-being of every aspect of the game in this country… They will then look at the seedings for Euro 2008 and reflect that Ireland are now fourth seeds having been first seeds for the Euro 2004 qualifying draw. They will also look at the world rankings and note that while Kerr brought Ireland to its highest ranking since September 1995, when the team reached 12th place, the side have dropped nine places since March and at 21st are now out of the top 20 for the first time since November 2001. They will also note that of the players used in the recent campaign only eight – John O’Shea, Andy Reid, Graham Kavanagh, Liam Miller, Alan Maybury, Alan Lee, Gary Doherty and Stephen Elliott – were not part of Mick McCarthy’s World Cup squad. In Brian Kerr’s defence they will note that they had a manager who worked long hours and travelled thousands of miles each month to watch players and assess opponents. They will also consider his tremendous dedication to Irish football and in his interest in not only the senior international team but also his hands-on interest in the well-being of every aspect of the game in this country. Once the football side of the equation has been put through the wringer the directors will turn their attention to the financial implications of not qualifying for the World Cup. Having made €3.

Scots face home truths
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Oct 16, 2005
Used on article pages to rotate the images of a story. Huge arrows pointed those passing through to neighbouring ‘Austrija’, as Slovenia’s border with the Euro 2008 co-hosts lay just 15 miles up the road. Drive another 15 miles beyond that and you would come to Graz, which will be one of the tournament’s venues. Walter Smith and his team could have boarded their bus at the Habakuk hotel and been at the Arnold Schwarze-negger stadion within an hour. All that separated them from it was a short journey through the various hues of beautiful Alpine countryside. Cornfields straight out of a Stephen King story… Smith has also noted that Norway reverted to using a long ball game to close out their playoff place and, although he has no intention of adopting it slavishly, believes Scotland can learn some lessons from this. “They have gone back to playing the style of play that they had before, which is a wee bit back to front, but it’s been successful for them. It’s hard to play against. In home matches, the way they play keeps every team back in their own half.

Situation vacant: Football manager/ miracle worker
Irish Independent – Oct 14, 2005
It may carry a salary in excess of €400,000 per year but does anybody really want to take it on at this stage? Ireland are going to be among the fourth seeds when the Euro 2008 qualifying draw takes place in Montreaux on January 27 and could find themselves in an eight-team group with the bulk of their opposition drawn from Eastern Europe. OPPOSITION The team is also slipping rapidly down the world rankings, having dropped out of the top 20 for the first time in four years last month. Any further slippage will greatly affect the association’s ability to attract top-class opposition for friendly fixtures. Then there is the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road, which means the team will probably have to find a new home in 2007 if the planning process is completed on schedule. Although Croke Park will be available, the FAI will have to decide if it is economically viable to play out of Jones Road or far more prudent to move to Glasgow or Liverpool.

UEFA EURO 2008™ – News
uefa.comUEFA.com – Oct 12, 2005
Short listThe Zurich firm, which has developed from the leading travel company in Switzerland into a major international tourism organisation, and which celebrates its centenary in 2006, won the appointment after two of seven candidates had been short-listed. Agency challenge”The challenge facing the UEFA EURO 2008™ accommodation agency is to pinpoint and offer accommodation and other related services to the different target groups, including UEFA’s own organisational team at the head of the list,” said tournament organisers Euro 2008 SA. High-quality options”Accommodation will also be offered to commercial affiliates, broadcasters, all kind of media representatives and, not least, the participating teams who will be invited to take advantage of a wide variety of high-quality options. The primary objectives are to offer best services at reasonable prices while avoiding ‘minimum stay’ restrictions. The agency will be integrated into the organisational team and will have an office within the Euro 2008 SA headquarters in Nyon, western Switzerland as of next year… Short listThe Zurich firm, which has developed from the leading travel company in Switzerland into a major international tourism organisation, and which celebrates its centenary in 2006, won the appointment after two of seven candidates had been short-listed. Agency challenge”The challenge facing the UEFA EURO 2008™ accommodation agency is to pinpoint and offer accommodation and other related services to the different target groups, including UEFA’s own organisational team at the head of the list,” said tournament organisers Euro 2008 SA. High-quality options”Accommodation will also be offered to commercial affiliates, broadcasters, all kind of media representatives and, not least, the participating teams who will be invited to take advantage of a wide variety of high-quality options. The primary objectives are to offer best services at reasonable prices while avoiding ‘minimum stay’ restrictions. The agency will be integrated into the organisational team and will have an office within the Euro 2008 SA headquarters in Nyon, western Switzerland as of next year. Important element”Accommodation is a basic and important element at a major event of this nature,” said UEFA Chief Executive Lars-Christer Olsson.

BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | Changes ahead
BBC News – Oct 12, 2005
After 32 months at the helm, the Football Association of Ireland must now decide whether to hand Kerr an extension to his contract. Kerr’s prospects of being offered a new term do not look particularly bright. The Irish media, having hounded Mick McCarthy out, welcomed the choice of Kerr as his replacement in 2003, but things have now turned sour. Early on in Kerr’s tenure, everything was rosy as the Republic kicked off their World Cup campaign with a couple of wins, plus handy away draws against France and Switzerland… The manager’s relationship with many of the journalists who cover the Republic has become strained and Kerr’s efforts to open contract negotiations with the FAI have been unsuccessful. Kerr has put a lot into the job which he cares passionately about but the criticism he has been getting in the newspapers appears to sway the officialdom of Merrion Square. The Republic team is sure to undergo and major overhaul before the qualification series for Euro 2008 begins. Roy Keane has announced his retirement from the international game and other senior members of the Irish squad could follow. Another 34-year-old, skipper Kenny Cunningham, has also signalled that he has played his last game in a Republic shirt. Ian Harte and Gary Breen, who had been hoping to bow out on the big stage of Germany 2006, must be nearing the end of their international careers as well.

Smith begins to look to Europe for redemption
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Oct 12, 2005
The aim of Walter Smith’s side is to halt any further descent in Scotland’s Fifa ranking. Securing three points against Slovenia in Celje would allow them to finish in third place and ease the task of their next test, the European Championship. The draw for Euro 2008 takes place in Switzerland in January and while finishing behind Norway, who took the runners-up spot that secured a passport to the play-offs, might not make up for missing out on Germany 2006, but it would put Smith’s side in the fourth pot of seeds for the European tournament and avoid some of the lengthy schedules now facing Wales and Northern Ireland, who are among the fifth seeds. None of that, however, is in Smith’s mind. The Scotland manager is barely over the crushing disappointment of Saturday’s defeat against Belarus, which halted the feelgood factor he had built up in his six previous games in charge. Smith simply wants a victory to restore that momentum. The occasion, though, could lend itself to a morgue-like atmosphere… Yet he does not feel inclined to scatter fresh faces across this seemingly meaningless fixture. “Regardless of how the World Cup section now is, Scotland are not in the position of being able to use any game as an experiment,” Smith said. “We have to try and get back our respectability. We still have plenty to play for. We cannot have any meaningless games — they all mean something.

Talent pool runs dry for Ireland
The Observer – Oct 16, 2005
‘Resources are probably as limited as the Irish team has had for 20 years,’ assessed Liam Brady, former maestro who included among his international team-mates the excellence of Pat Bonner, Paul McGrath, David O’Leary, Mark Lawrenson, John Giles, Kevin Moran, Ray Houghton, Ronnie Whelan, Frank Stapleton and John Aldridge. Every member of that ensemble was a leading light at a major side in England, able to hone their experience through regular top-class competition. With respect to the current squad and their efforts, the same does not apply so widely. It is too simplistic to blame the inflated global presence in the Premiership. Although that evidently isn’t helpful, the influence of Roy Keane and Damien Duff at Manchester United and Chelsea confirms that if you are good enough it matters not if you are from Ballyboden, Cork or Timbuktu. Premiership clubs are falling over themselves to recruit talent, wherever it comes from. But there isn’t so much of it coming from Ireland these days… The shallowness of resources is emphasised by Roy Keane and Kenny Cunningham bidding the squad farewell. Ireland can no longer compensate for big players retiring in the way the baton was passed from Giles to Brady to Whelan. In the short term, whoever takes charge of the next campaign will have a young squad on which to make his mark – more than likely as fourth seeds in qualification for Euro 2008. ‘The personality of the coach has got to be right,’ says Brady. ‘He has to have the character to bring the players with him, to stop them from looking confused. ‘End of an era? For Kerr, almost certainly. But for Irish football? That is the most pertinent question of all.

Scotland sign off in style
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Oct 13, 2005
James McFadden added an audacious goal just after half-time and then Paul Hartley scored his first goal for his country with eight minutes left. The midfield player finished off a sumptuous passing move by hitting a dipping right-foot shot into the roof of the net to ensure that Scotland are able to keep their status when they move on to their next objective, the European Championships. The result keeps Smith’s side in the fourth pot of seeds when the draw for Euro 2008 is made in January. The manner — in stark contrast to the poverty under his predecessor, Berti Vogts — offers hope for progress to those finals. The diversity of the Slovenian squad was underlined by the fact that it was drawn from 14 different foreign leagues. These did not just include the normal destinations, such as France and neighbouring Austria, but more exotic locations such as South Korea and Israel. If Scotland’s failure to reach the World Cup finals had been keenly felt, the Slovenian public was possibly less perturbed by not securing a place in a third successive finals… The manner — in stark contrast to the poverty under his predecessor, Berti Vogts — offers hope for progress to those finals. The diversity of the Slovenian squad was underlined by the fact that it was drawn from 14 different foreign leagues. These did not just include the normal destinations, such as France and neighbouring Austria, but more exotic locations such as South Korea and Israel. If Scotland’s failure to reach the World Cup finals had been keenly felt, the Slovenian public was possibly less perturbed by not securing a place in a third successive finals. This small country, which only achieved independence in 1991, is more enthusiastic about skiing. html”–>That was reflected by the gathering in the Petrol Arena in Celje.

Scotland can look forward to bright future with Smith
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Oct 14, 2005
One wonders if he will be trying to get his old job back — as delivery boy, not Scotland manager — next summer. The little man from Moenchengladbach promised to lead Scotland to the 2006 finals in his homeland. “MacVogts”, as he dubbed himself, insisted he would be there but not “up in the stands, eating a hot dog”. Perhaps he will be selling them. The man who determined the destiny of an ill-fated qualifying campaign was not around to clear up the mess. Walter Smith did that, and he even threw in a small appetiser for Euro 2008, which is now the next thing on Scotland’s menu. The stylish 3-0 defeat of Slovenia on Wednesday night brought down the curtain on group five and hinted at a brighter future if Vogts’s successor can rekindle the organisation and flair shown in Celje when the serious business of the European Championship begins in September 2006… Perhaps he will be selling them. The man who determined the destiny of an ill-fated qualifying campaign was not around to clear up the mess. Walter Smith did that, and he even threw in a small appetiser for Euro 2008, which is now the next thing on Scotland’s menu. The stylish 3-0 defeat of Slovenia on Wednesday night brought down the curtain on group five and hinted at a brighter future if Vogts’s successor can rekindle the organisation and flair shown in Celje when the serious business of the European Championship begins in September 2006. That may seem a long time to wait. There will be pangs of hunger at being denied competitive action for so long, especially when the feast of the World Cup finals come around and Scotland has its nose pressed against the window. The country feels as if it is on a starvation diet as it prepares to go without a fourth consecutive championship finals.

Former Wales international
BBC News – Oct 13, 2005
What I found very interesting against Azerbaijan is the way Wales played, with David Vaughan and Simon Davies quite tight in midfield. Usually you want to play a wide, expansive game against a side like Azerbaijan to create the chances, but Wales chose not to do that. But it was a reasonably professional performance – six out of 10 – we should have scored more goals but, hey, we’ve won the game. It’s a great end to the campaign, a great crowd considering the circumstances, and only positives to take into the future… Looking through the last campaign, in very few games did Wales have all their players fit. That’s always going to be a problem for any Wales manager because we haven’t got the abundance of players to choose from. But Wales need some very good friendlies between now and next September, when the real business of qualifying for Euro 2008 begins.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Bayern hit by last-gasp setback
noticias.info – Oct 15, 2005
The result meant Bayern lost first place in the Bundesliga to Werder Bremen. “We failed to cash in our chances on the break and couldn’t take the pressure off our defence in the final minutes. I don’t mind not being top of the Bundesliga because nobody cares who is top after nine games. Being top after 34 games is what matters,” said Magath. Club Brugge KV 2-1 KVC WesterloAfter two UEFA Champions League defeats and three Belgian First Division games without a victory, Club Brugge finally won again. Gert Verheyen scored seven minutes after coming off the bench to complete the comeback for Jan Ceulemans’s side who had fallen behind to Jef Delen’s 35th-minute goal. Bo?ko Balaban celebrated his 27th birthday by earning and converting a penalty on the stroke of half-time, before the veteran Verheyen struck on 83 minutes after being set up by Philippe Clement… However, Salzburg rallied to claim a deserved win and inflict a fourth home league defeat on Josef Hickersberger’s men. It was not the best start to a tough week for Rapid. Tuesday’s match against Club Brugge precedes a Viennese derby at FK Austria Wien next weekend, while coach Hickersberger is expected to reveal his decision whether to extend his contract with Rapid or accept an offer from the Austrian Football Association to lead the national team to UEFA EURO 2008?. Of the game itself, Hickersberger said: “Once in front, we failed to control proceedings. Salzburg were strong and we were lucky they missed their chances in the first half. Helge Payer made some great saves for us. We were better in the second half and tried to dominate, but Salzburg were clever and took their goals well.

Taylor dodges blame game
Sunday Times – The Sunday Times – Oct 16, 2005
While some criticism has veered into the unfairly personal, there are still pertinent questions regarding their role in Scotland’s failure that they steadfastly refuse to address. It hasn’t been all bad under them, after all. The bid for Euro 2008 might have succeeded if it hadn’t been short of government support after Jack McConnell succeeded Henry McLeish as first minister. The appointment of Vogts was brave and, given the absence of strong native candidates, understandable. Yet bravery turned to cowardice when his dismissal was required after a string of heavy defeats to Holland, Wales and Hungary preceded the World Cup qualifiers. Ultimately, the reversal of just one result, the 1-0 home loss to Norway, would have been enough to take Scotland into the playoffs. That is why the standard of manager was so important and Taylor only wants to look forward as the sight in the rearview mirror must be grisly to him and his rarely-glimpsed president, whose next re-election date is not due until 2007… “The only answer is better players coming through and that’s why the only real effects that we can have are to work hard at the youth international elite levels. The results are never apparent next week, next month, next year. It takes a few years and we are not absolutely sure, as nobody is, which are the right levers to pull to get success but we know it’s about producing better players. That’s where SFA activity has been stepped up. We are not prepared, as in the past, to sit back and see what comes from clubs.

SOCCER: Healy feels the frustration
U.TV – UTV – Oct 13, 2005
“Had we gone in front, I`m sure we would have gone on and won the game. “We dominated the match for long periods but we couldn`t find the target. We just didn`t have the luck. “The turning point came just before half time when Austria went ahead but we deserved something out of the game… “The referee was wound up as well. He was very fussy and couldn`t wait to get the cards out of his pocket. “Johnson will now sit out the opening game of the Euro 2008 qualifiers following his dismissal. Northern Ireland finished fourth in the group ahead of Wales and Azerbaijan despite losing their last two games. The province who once went 1,298 minutes without scoring have now got into the habit of shipping goals instead. They conceded 18 in the 10 qualifiers and that is an area manager Lawrie Sanchez knows he needs to address. Despite failing to build on the victory against England with defeats by both Wales and Austria, Healy believes there is good reason for optimism.

Football Europe – News & Features – News Specific
uefa.comUEFA.com – Oct 14, 2005
Bayern defender Willy Sagnol is out of the Bundesliga trip to FC Schalke 04 on Saturday with a groin injury. It is not yet known whether the 28-year-old French international will be fit for the UEFA Champions League match against Juventus on Tuesday. Juventus midfielder Patrick Vieira will miss Saturday’s home game against FC Messina Peloro and is rated doubtful for the Bayern fixture after returning from international duty with a groin injury. The 29-year-old former Arsenal FC captain helped France qualify for the FIFA World Cup with victory over Cyprus but will be forced to rest for several days to recover. Vieira has scored three goals in six Serie A outings this season. Sporting Clube de Portugal defender Tonel is recovering well after surgery to cure urological problems… Gusev underwent surgery before Ukraine’s 1-0 friendly win against Japan. Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin said: “Oleh will have to spend at least a month out of training, which rules him out until the end of the year. ”
Scotland will start preparations for their UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying campaign by playing a home friendly against Switzerland on 1 March next year. The Swiss are co-hosts of the tournament and do not have to qualify. Hibernian FC midfielder Scott Brown has extended his contract with the Edinburgh club until summer 2008. The Scottish Under-21 international’s decision delighted manager Tony Mowbray. “Scott’s got a good future ahead of him,” said Mowbray.

Giggs Still Hungry for United and Wales
CaleyThistleOnline.com – Oct 12, 2005
The summer signing of Park Ji-Sung has seen Giggs start only three matches for United this season, whilst speculation continues to link the Cardiff-born star with a move to the continent. “I don’t see it that I am not first choice,” said the 31-year-old. “I still maintain that if I am playing well I will be in the Manchester United team. The hunger for me is still there, and there is an extra sense of that. ”

Giggs has also committed his future to his country. Having won League Championships, European competitions and domestic cups at Old Trafford, he has had little success on the international front with his native Wales having not qualified for a major tournament since 1958… Having won League Championships, European competitions and domestic cups at Old Trafford, he has had little success on the international front with his native Wales having not qualified for a major tournament since 1958. ?Consistency-wise this is the best I have played for Wales, I still see the 2010 World Cup as a realistic target, hopefully fit and playing well. We will also have a crack at Euro 2008. “I have always had that hunger, and towards the end of your career it gets stronger. ”

Skipper under John Toshack, Giggs hit the winner as Wales performed superbly to edge out Northern Ireland on Saturday. That was Wales? only win thus far of a dismal qualification campaign which ends on Wednesday against Azerbaijan. Wales? best-known player will make his 55th international appearance at the Millennium Stadium.

FIFA World Cup – News & Features
uefa.comUEFA.com – Oct 13, 2005
Improbable scenarioBefore last night’s fixtures, Greece knew it would be difficult to progress. Needing first to win their final match against Georgia while hoping that Turkey would lose to Albania in Tirana and Denmark take no more than a point from their trip to Kazakhstan. Untimely endingGreece completed their part of the bargain, winning 1-0 in front of 25,000 fans at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium, but with both their rivals for the Group 2 runners-up slot also prevailing, it was the end of the line for the heroes of EURO 2004™. And perhaps surprisingly, there were no recriminations.

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