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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Spain - Slovakia match puts pressure over Aragones

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Spain will fight Slovakia on Saturday for a World Cup playoff. The winner of which qualifies for next year's World Cup in Germany.

Spain has home advantage at Atletico Madrid's Vicente Calderon stadium and can't afford to slip up. Aragones is under pressure to achieve a big lead to take to Bratislava for the second leg on Wednesday. The veteran coach has already hinted he won't stay on if the team fails to make it to the World Cup for the eighth time in a row.

"What's essential is to win. And if it's by two goals, that's better than one. And if it's by three, even better," Aragones said. "I think we're superior in terms of our technical ability and we have to use this to make sure of victory. I think we can win both here and there. I'm sure we'll be in Germany."

Although it is one of soccer's traditional powerhouses, Spain has a poor record in international championships. Its lone victory was the 1964 European Championship and, since a fourth-place finish in 1950, it has never been past the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

Slovakia is trying to get there for the first time since the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993.

"We are going to do everything in our power so that everyone who knows nothing about Slovakia will remember us," coach Dusan Galis said. "These games are the most important in our players' careers, and in the careers of those of us who support them."

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