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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

France Edges Spain After Raul Misses Penalty




BRUGES, Belgium -- Spanish talisman Raul Gonzalez skied an 89th-minute penalty way over the crossbar leaving Youri Djorkaeff's brilliant winner to put France in the Euro 2000 semifinal after a 2-1 victory over Spain on Sunday.


Raul, given the chance to take the spot kick because regular penalty taker Gaizka Mendieta had been substituted, had a golden chance to put the match into extra time after a foul by French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez on Abelardo Fernandez.


But he didn't even force Barthez to make a save, firing the kick over the angle of the post and bar to the dismay of Spanish fans and the delight of the French.


Djorkaeff, France's fourth top goalscorer of all time with 26 goals, continued his knack of scoring vital goals and earned the world champions a semifinal against Portugal with a strike one minute before halftime.


The outstanding Patrick Vieira, playing in place of his injured Arsenal teammate Emmanuel Petit, drove toward the center of Spain's defense and laid the ball right to Djorkaeff, who banged the ball between Santiago Canizares and the near post.


It was the 32-year-old Kaiserslautern player's second Euro 2000 strike after a goal as a substitute in France's 2-1 victory against the Czech Republic.


"We lost because the world champions have that little bit extra that others don't," said Spanish coach Jose Antonio Camacho.


"The result wasn't fair but we accept it."


France briefly looked in trouble when Mendieta's 38th-minute penalty equalized a superb free kick from Zinedine Zidane. But France's ploy of resting eight of its players to face Spain during its last match against the Netherlands paid off handsomely.


France got stronger as the match went on, taking control with slick passing and tough tackling.


Spain's desperation surfaced in the 70th minute when Paco escaped with a yellow card after literally wrestling Thierry Henry to the ground to stop a 50-meter run from the Arsenal forward.


Zidane ran the Spanish ragged and marked a virtuoso performance with a perfectly placed 25-meter free kick to give France a 32nd-minute lead.


But the Spaniards hit back in the 38th minute when Lilian Thuram hauled down the dangerous Pedro Munitis and Mendieta rolled in the penalty.


Munitis who scored as a substitute in Spain's stunning 4-3 win against Yugoslavia, was Spain's most dangerous player and troubled the normally serene Thuram with a series of quick darting runs on the left.


The Spaniards should have forced extra time when French keeper Barthez pulled down Abelardo in a scramble close to the French goal and were awarded a penalty. But Raul blazed the spot kick over the bar.


Camacho tried to be philosophical about Raul's penalty miss.


"We have a very different feeling compared to after our last match," he said. "Penalties all depend on the man. Sometimes you score, sometimes you don't. At least the players can now have their holidays."


But he clearly felt that Spain is unlucky to be out.


"We had the chance to go the semifinals and beat the world champions," he said.


"The feeling we have is one of sadness and bitterness. Let's go home."


French coach Roger Lemerre praised Zidane.


"The two teams are similar as exemplified by Zidane and Raul," he said. "I congratulate Spain for the quality of its organization and its passing. But the French have the players that make the difference, one of them being Zidane."