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Even without Raul at Euro 2008, his presence is clear at the team's training camp

Even without Raul at Euro 2008, his presence is clear at the team's training camp

Even from afar, Raul Gonzalez is ever-present with Spain's national football team.
The country's all-time leading scorer with 44 goals in 102 appearances hasn't played since being dropped by Spain coach Luis Aragones in November 2006, but several youngsters watching the national team's training session in Austria were sporting Raul's No. 7 jersey.
"I'm upset he's not here," said 44-year-old Christian Moser, who came from nearby Innsbruck with his son and nephew _ wearing Raul's jersey _ to watch the Spanish practice. "I think he's a great player. I like the way he plays with charisma and the way he just knows how to anticipate."
Moser will be taking the family to Tuesday's Group D opener against Russia, as will Juan Pedro Carmon, who recently arrived from southern Spain and thinks Raul should still be on the team.
"Definitely," said Carmon, a 24-year-old Real Madrid fan who is optimistic that Spain can win its first major title since 1964. "If Greece can win it, anybody can."
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HOULLIER'S EYE: France coach Raymond Domenech is asking former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier for a hand at the European Championship.
Houllier, now France's national technical director, is helping with a spying mission on Domenech's Group C opponents.
He will send two delegates to watch Netherlands play Italy in Bern on Monday, and others to watch "other possible future opponents if France finishes first or second," Houllier said.
"They will give their reports to Domenech's assistants and help with a (video) montage on each team's strong and weak points," Houllier said. "Someone will follow Holland, someone will follow Italy."
Two-time European champion France plays its first match at Euro 2008 against Romania in Geneva on Monday.
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IF THE PANTS FIT: When Guus Hiddink and his team were given a festive welcome by the mayor and a village brass band in the Austrian ski resort of Leogang, the Russia coach avoided pulling on a pair of traditional leather shorts given to him as a gift.
"The mayor kindly presented me with a pair of lederhosen and asked me politely if I could put them on there, in public," Hiddink wrote in his regular column published Saturday in Dutch daily De Telegraaf. "There was no escape ... but luckily I was saved by the shorts being too small."
Instead, the Dutchman posed for photographers _ with maybe a slightly relieved look on his face _ holding up the lederhosen instead of wearing them.
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NEXT TIME AROUND: When Gerard Houllier looks back at his own career, he can see that, just maybe, England shouldn't be too upset at missing out on the European Championship.
Houllier was manager of France when the team failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup because of a shock loss to Bulgaria, which qualified for the tournament in the United States instead.
But the French rebounded four years later to lift the trophy at home.
"I'm a great supporter of the England team and the England players," said Houllier, who coached Liverpool in the Premier League for six years. "France missed the World Cup in '94 and they won it in '98. Sometimes when you have a big disappointment, it gets people together."
France had at least one advantage over England, though. As host, it didn't even have to qualify for the World Cup.
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STAY AWAY: Several Croatian women's groups have urged fans traveling to Austria to stay away from prostitutes.
The group ROSA said women often are trafficked for prostitution and called on football players and fans: "Play fair, don't buy sex."
The Croatian government's Office for Human Rights also joined the action, producing a TV ad that calls on people to report human trafficking. The ad features former Croatia great Davor Suker, who won the 1998 World Cup golden boot award as the leading scorer.


Updated : 2021-05-16 14:09 GMT+08:00