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Revenge motive for Raúl
Raúl González says Spain will be on a revenge mission at the UEFA EURO 2004 finals next summer when they attempt to put the record straight against their qualifying round conquerors Greece.
Monday, 8 December 2003


The Spanish captain told that Iñaki Sáez's side were deeply hurt by their 1-0 defeat by the Greeks in Saragossa last June and cannot wait to prove a point when the two sides go head to head again in Group A at the Estádio da Bessa on 16 June.

"It's a revenge match against Greece," said Raúl. "When we lost to them it was a very bad game for Spain because it caused us big problems in terms of us failing to gain direct qualification from the group as winners. We now have the opportunity to prove to our supporters that we are a better team than Greece and that our loss to them was only a mirage. They provoked some really bad moments for us which we haven't forgotten, and we can't wait to play them again with our strongest team." 

Hosts Portugal and Russia make up the quartet of teams in Group A, and the Real Madrid CF striker is the first to acknowledge that the Spaniards have a tough task ahead of them if they want to progress to the knockout stages. "This is not an easy group for Spain by any means and I actually think it is the most difficult one of the lot," he told "There is no team in our group that you can take lightly at all." 

The 26-year-old talisman is disappointed that Spain have been paired with their neighbours Portugal in the opening stages. The two sides met in a September friendly in Guimarães when Spain comfortably won 3-0, but Raúl says he would have preferred to meet them in the latter stages of the competition. 

"Playing Portugal at the finals will be nice, but I wish that we could have avoided each other until at least the quarter-finals because I have a lot of good friends who play in the Portuguese national team, like my Real Madrid team-mate Luís Figo for example," said Raúl. "When we last played them in a friendly we won, so that will be good for confidence. As for Russia, they are a difficult team, but I think we are stronger than them and I hope we can show it." 

Although Portugal are the host nation, there is certain to be an invasion of Spanish fans flooding across the border to support their national heroes. And it is that immense vocal backing which Raúl hopes will turn out to be a major advantage for Spain as they look to shake off their tag of being major championship flops. 

"We are playing near to home and this could be an important help to us because we will get plenty of support in the stadiums from Spanish fans," Raúl claimed. "We all want to fight for something that is very important to our country and I'm confident that we have the team to do some really good things at EURO 2004. In the finals there will not be one easy team, but it's up to us to prove that Spain are superior to the rest."
- Ken Martin




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