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Platini invites former Spanish rival Euro final

sports Updated: Jul 01, 2008 01:41 IST

Agencies
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UEFA President Michel Platini has invited the Spanish goalkeeper who he embarrassed in the final of the 1984 European Championship to be his guest at Sunday’s Euro 2008 final.

Special: Euro 2008

Platini scored the opening goal of France’s 2-0 win over the Spanish in 1984 with a free kick that somehow squirmed under the body of keeper Luis Arconada.

On Sunday, Spain will have the chance to redeem themselves when they take on Germany for the 2008 title.

“I was thinking while I was shaving this morning about how I took the trophy off the Spanish 24 years ago but could be handing it back to them tomorrow,” Platini told a news conference on Saturday.

“When we called Arconada up to ask if he wanted to come and watch the game, he asked if it was a joke. But I think it’s nice to be able to invite a former rival.”

Since the 1984 game, similar goalkeeping errors are known as Arconadas.

Euro 2012 hosts warned

Vienna: Platini issued his strongest warning yet to Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland and Ukraine on Saturday, saying the tournament would not be staged there if stadiums in their capital cities were not ready.

Platini, who did not give a deadline for the stadiums, will lead a 12-man delegation to the two countries next week to examine the progress being made.

“We will do everything we can to hold it in Poland and Ukraine.

“There is no back-up plan. We have not had any second thoughts, or other thoughts and we respect our decision to go to Poland and Ukraine.

“The only thing that will make me decide not to go is if there are no stadiums in the capitals of Warsaw and Kiev. If there are no stadiums, there will be no tournament.” Platini said UEFA would make a final decision at its executive meeting on Sept. 25-26.

Beckenbauer fears Spain

Vienna: German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer said on Saturday that a technically-gifted Spain would beat his compatriots in the final if they played like they did against Russia.

“In the second half the Spanish performance was the best I have seen in the last decade. The Spanish team with this performance would beat any team in the world,” Beckenbauer, 62, told a news conference. “Definitely the Spanish players are more flexible technique-wise, maybe better than the German team. I don’t know if Germany are physically stronger than Spain.”

“Germany’s performance has not been steady like the Spanish team. They have played up and down so tomorrow we expect the performance to be up again.

Guiza to marry if Spain win

Madrid: Spanish striker Dani Guiza will marry his girlfriend if Spain land their first title since 1964 on Sunday, the Real Mallorca marksman told the Spanish press on Saturday.

The 27-year-old said a Spanish win would prompt him to propose marriage to his long-term companion Nuria Bermudez, mother of his child, a former model and actress and now his agent. “If I win the title, we will go forwards and marry,” said Guiza, who scored in the 3-0 victory over Russia.