By Amjad Baker
Norway sat proudly on top of Group C Tuesday after a 1-0 victory over Spain at Rotterdam stadium, as the Euro 2000 formbook was torn to shreds, and the Slovenians failed to maintain their three nuclear headers to come out with a 3-3 draw against their Yugoslavians rivals.
Spain’s performance was below par, far from their old expertise and earlier success when, under coach Jose Antonio Camacho, their promising young stars propelled them to seven straight wins. Their recent lack-luster performance allowed Cyprus a 3-2 victory in the early qualifying round for the Euro 2000. They were far from perfect, running all over the field in a disorganized manner, and hardly launching a single successful attack on the Slovenian’s post.
A second half header from the Tottenham striker Steffen Iverson, came after a dreadful mistake from the Spanish goalie Francisco Molina gave the scandivian the pole position at 1-0.
The Tottenham striker had waited a long time for such a pass to overcome Spain’s offside, profiting from Molina’s mistake as he misjudged the long ball, racing out of his post to the 18 yards line, but Iverson was closer to ball. Iverson accepted the mistake as a glorious gift and looped the ball into the unguarded net.
Thereafter, Norway solidified their defense line keeping the Spaniards away from their net, until the first non-European Egyptian referee in Euro 2000 championship sounded the end of the match at 1-0 in favor of Norway.
SLOVENIA 3, YUGOSLAVIA 3
Late in the day, Slovenia went away with 3-0 lead from three magnificent headers, but surprisingly they lost control of the field for 15 minutes, paving the way for Yugoslavians to equalize them.
Slovenia’s three goals came from Latko Zahovic who scored the first and third while Miran Palvin added the second goal. This demoralized Yugoslavia who almost lost hope specially when their key defender was sent out with a second yellow card.
Surprisingly, the 10-men came out of the cage and retained their well known playing style to equalize the new comers in the Euro at 3-3.
Two goals from Savo Milosevic and one from Ljubinko Drulovic ensuring a 3-3 draw, satisfying their disappointed coach Boskov, who gave a big hand for the opponents’ third goal.
“We started badly,” said the 69-year-old coach, who could not hide his amusement saying “it’s a mystery to me how the team could manage to wake up like that suddenly and go forward and get the equalizer,” – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)