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At last the show
gets on the road, as co-hosts Belgium entertain Sweden in Brussels.
For those who
like statistics, when France opened as hosts in 1984 they beat Denmark 1-0
and went on to conquer Spain in the final.
The last three opening games have all been 1-1
draws, with the hosts going out at the semi-final stage. In 1988 Germany drew the opening
match with Italy 1-1, in Dusseldorf; Sweden drew 1-1 with France in Stockholm, in 1992;
and England had to settle with 1-1 against Switzerland, in 1996.
If this game ends in a 1-1 draw and Belgium
get defeated in the semi-finals, there's always Holland waiting to claim the prize for the
Sweden were unbeaten in qualifying and
finished above England in Group 5.
Poland 2-0 (Qual)
South Africa 0-1
Denmark 1-0 (Nordic Cup -- in Spain)
Norway 1-1 (Nordic Cup -- in Spain)
The pressure is on Belgian coach, Robert Waseige, to make sure his side get off to a
winning start. While a draw is not a calamity, Belgium will be looking to strike partners
Branko Strupar and Emile Mpenza to give the home side a positive start.
Sweden could do with Celtic's Henrik Larsson
up front, who has impressed in training after he broke his leg in a UEFA Cup-tie in Lyon,
but Sweden's joint coach, Lars Lagerback, is keeping his starting line-up under wraps
until just before kick-off.
1-Filip De Wilde
2-Eric Deflandre, 4-Lorenzo Staelens, 3-Joos Valgaeren, 17-Philippe Leonard
11-Gert Verheyen, 7-Marc Wilmots, 6-Yves Vanderhaeghe, 8-Bart Goor
10-Branko Strupar, 9-Emile Mpenza.
2-Roland Nilsson, 3-Patrik Anderson, 4-Joakim Bjorklund, 14-Olof Mellberg
11-Niclas Alexandersson, 15-Daniel Andersson, 17-Johan Mjallby, 9-Fredrik Ljungberg
19-Kennet Andersson, 10-Jorgen Petterson.
Referee: Markus Mark
1-0 -- Bart Goor steals the ball from a sleepy Nilsson
and wastes no time in burrying the first goal of Euro2000; in the 43rd minute.
2-0 -- Mpenza
scores straight from the kick-off -- 46mins.
2-1 -- Johan Mjallby
robs De Wilde and slips the ball in an open net -- 53mins.
Belgium 2 -- Sweden 1
The first points of the tournament go to Belgium, in what was a highly entertaining
opening game played at electrifying pace, in front of both the Belgian and Dutch Royal
Sweden's Henrik Larsson came on for the
second-half, but the Swedes had too much to do once Mpenza scored straight from the
restart. Tired legs and frustration led to a few yellow cards and a sending-off for
Sweden's captain, Patrik Andersson.
The closing minutes of the game were rather
messy although there was a touch of comical relief. A concussed Verheyen was replaced by
Belgian team-mate, Jacky Peters. Verheyen didn't realise that he'd been substituted and
tried to enter the play again shortly after.
Man of the Match:
Index -- Group Tables -- Qualifying Round --
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Sun. 11th June:
Game 02 Turkey - Italy (1-2)