Soccer - YU invoke three musketeers spirit
BELGRADE, Jun 8, 2000 -- (Reuters) Yugoslavia manager Vujadin Boskov vowed on Wednesday the team would improve after a disastrous Asian tour and go all the way at Euro 2000.
"We will play all for one and one for all, and hopefully in the final match of Euro 2000 too," he told a news conference as the players undertook a final training session before leaving for northern Europe on Thursday.
Boskov's team started their tour with an unconvincing 2-0 win over China, labored to a couple of goalless draws with South Korea and suffered a humiliating 4-2 defeat by a Hong Kong XI.
The 69-year old manager played down the resultant criticism and insisted the trip had been useful in many ways - notably to deceive Yugoslavia's rivals, Slovenia, Spain and Norway.
"We went there to hide from our group C opponents. The lads were tired and jetlagged too, but they will show their true colors when it matters," he said.
Striker Darko Kovacevic was more cautious about the team's chances. "We must take it one match at a time and get past the group stage first," he said.
Yugoslavia open their campaign against Slovenia in Charleroi on Tuesday.
Both Kovacevic and Boskov admitted it would be an uphill task for a team relying on players well over 30, some of them showing worrying signs of fatigue only days before the kick-off.
"They've had an arduous season in their clubs across Europe and there are no pushovers in our group. Norway are a handful and Slovenia have nothing to lose. Spain need no introduction," Boskov told reporters.
Kovacevic said a win against Slovenia would boost the team's morale and take the pressure off.
"It could be crucial for what happens next. The team spirit would be high and then we could start thinking about the semifinals."