Home > EURO 2012, Travel > Spain reign in seven goal thriller (EURO 2000)

Spain reign in seven goal thriller (EURO 2000)

Ahead of the trip to Poland, here is a look back at a couple of games I saw at EURO 2000. I saw the hosts get eliminated from the tournament at the first game and in the second saw what is likely to be remembered as one of the best games ever in the Euros.

First stop was the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels to see Turkey take on Belgium. The Belgian’s fancied themselves as they only needed a draw to progress to the quarter-finals but this was a tournament that showed Turkey were now no push overs in major championships. In a match that the home side dominated, Turkish ‘keeper Recber Rustu had superb game setting it up for Hakan Sukur to score two unanswered goals. It was certainly a case of Turkish delight for the many Turks living in Brussels after their 2-0 win. They took to the city centre streets to celebrate the victory long into the night driving around hanging out of cars and flying the Turkish flag.

Two days later we were in Bruges to see a classic as Spain beat Yugoslavia in a dramatic game. The match had everything; seven goals, sendings off, pitch invasions, injury time drama, flares and the game even saw the referee coined from an irate spectator at the end of the game.

This was back in the day when Spain were always the dark horses coming into the tournament before generally getting eliminated in the quarter final. It would be the same story this year. However, it looked like they weren’t even going to make it out of the group in this game played in Jan Breydel Stadium going initially 1-0 down after Savo Milosevic’s headed goal on the half hour mark

The Spanish fans were outnumbered several times over by the large Yugoslav cohort who didn’t seen to be too friendly to a group of us when they heard us speaking English on the way to the match. The bombing of Belgrade by UK Royal Air Force, just a year previously may have been a reason. The fact we were Irish probably escaped them.

They took over one end of the ground with only several hundred Spanish fans including the famous Manolo with his big drum at the other end. We were thankful that we were amongst the friendly Spanish fans who were celebrating after Alfonso equalized for their team as the game approached half time.

Just after the 50th minute mark it was 2-2 after two goals in two minutes thanks to two substitutes . Yugoslavia struck first from Dejan Govedarica and then Pedro Munitis equalised for La Roja. The Yugoslavs were reduced to 10 men just after the clock ticked past the hour. The match was delayed for this red card and when a spectator somehow make it onto the pitch to remonstrate with the French referee Gilles Veissiere. The ref would later be struck by a coin from the crowd after the final whistle.

Slobodan Komljenovic put Yugoslavia 3-2 up on 75 minutes and his team seemed to spend the last 15 minutes of the normal time doing plenty of time wasting and kicking of the Spaniards as they cynically tried to run the clock down picking up five yellow cards along the way. This was a team including Sinisa Mihajlovice that had two players sent off in their first group game. As the match went into injury time, Spain were effectively out as they still needed two goals to get the win they required to get out of the group.

Spain got an equalizer when Mendieta scored from the penalty spot in the 91st minute after Aberlardo was fouled in the area. Then with the stadium clock showing seven minutes of injury time, Pep Gardiola desperately hit a long ball (yeah, I know!) into the area that Ismael Urzaiz knocked down to Alfonso. His crisp volley ripped the back of the net and as he wheeled away in celebration on the pitch, the Spaniards, Irish and even some Rangers fans in our end of the ground jumped around in celebration. What a comeback! Yugoslavia 3 Spain 4. A game to remember. Don’t think we will see a similar scoreline in Gdansk this day next week!

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