Euro Flashback: Spain stage dramatic comeback to finally down Yugoslavia
Throughout Euro 2020, LiveScore will be looking back at classic games from previous tournaments. Today we remember one of the games of Euro 2000, when Spain and Yugoslavia played out a seven-goal thriller.
Setting the scene
There was a time, hard as it might be to imagine, where Spain were Europe’s great underachievers.
Billed as one of the pre-tournament favourites in 2000, La Roja needed all three points in their final Group C game to progress following defeat to Norway in their opener.
Yugoslavia topped the group after an epic 3-3 draw with Slovenia — in which they scored three goals in six minutes to come from 3-0 down — was followed up with a 1-0 win over Norway.
Exploiting a weakness
Spain captain Fernando Hierro was ruled out and Vujadin Boskov’s side took full advantage of that.
Their opener arrived after 30 minutes when a cross was floated into the area and one-time Aston Villa striker Savo Milosevic powered home a header.
It was his fourth goal of the group stage as he went on to share the Golden Boot with the Netherlands’ Patrick Kluivert.
An unlikely hero
Heralded as one of the most aesthetically pleasing teams at the tournament, Spain’s equaliser was anything but.
Real Madrid legend Raul tried to dance his way into the penalty area but was tackled on the edge.
The ricochet bounced off his trailing leg and straight into the path of his strike partner Alfonso Perez, who instinctively poked into the corner.
Second half pandemonium
It was after the break that the game really took off as five minutes into the second half, Yugoslavia regained the lead.
Substitute Dejan Govedarica scored the goal of the game having received a pass from Ljubinko Drulovic on the edge of the box.
It was so perfectly weighted that a touch wasn’t required. He just side-footed it into the keeper’s top left, clipping the bar on its way in.
That lead lasted less than 60 seconds, however.
Another sub, Pedro Munitis, scored a goal which was eerily similar to Govedarica’s. Picking up a pass outside the area, he side-footed home to restore parity for Spain.
With just over an hour gone, former Chelsea midfielder Slavisa Jokanovic was sent off for a second yellow after a clipping Munitis.
But Yugoslavia weren’t done.
With just 15 minutes left on the clock, Sinisa Mihajlovic’s free-kick caused chaos in the Spanish box and, after a few failed attempts at a clearance, right-back Slobodan Komljenovic poked home from close range.
With time running out, Spain pushed everyone forward.
Abelardo, the stand-in captain on the day, vacated his centre-back position to join the attack.
On a foray forward, he was fouled and Gaizka Mendieta stepped up to convert the resulting penalty and drag Spain level four minutes into stoppage-time.
But the best was yet to come. Less than 60 seconds later, with the Yugoslavia bench on their feet demanding the final whistle, Pep Guardiola punted a long-ball towards sub Ismael Urzaiz.
The ball fell kindly for Alfonso and he converted what would prove to be his final Spain goal, to clinch a dramatic win and progress as group winners.
World champions France were waiting for La Roja in the quarter-finals and, in keeping with their tournament experience up to that point, Spain were beaten 2-1.
But change was around the corner.