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SUNDAY'S GAMES

Spain vs. Ireland

June 15, 2002|Grahame L. Jones

*--* 4:30 a.m. at Suwon, South Korea TV: Ch. 34. Delayed: Ch. 7, 10:30 p.m.; Ch. 46, 2:30 p.m How they got here: Spain (3-0-0) won Group B; Ireland (1-0-2) was runner-up in Group E Sidelined: Spain's Diego Tristan (injured); Ireland's Roy Keane (banished) Spain update: Coach Jose Antonio Camacho has the Spanish off to their best World Cup start in more than a half-century, with the team undefeated and having scored nine goals in three games. "We've made a great start to the competition, but all we've done is achieve our first goal," Camacho said. Spanish strikers Raul, Fernando Morientes are in top form, as is influential midfielder Luis Enrique Ireland update: Coach Mick McCarthy has emerged as something of a national hero after first banishing star midfielder Keane for insubordination and then taking Ireland into the second round from a difficult group. "People didn't think we could get where we are now," McCarthy said. "People thought we'd get beaten in the first two games [by Cameroon and Germany]. We fight against doubters and critics all the time. We do it very well." Ireland's main weapons are Robbie Keane (no relation) and Damien Duff. They could cause Spain's aging back line some difficulty Outlook: Spain has the depth and the talent to win, but the Irish have the tenacity and team spirit to cause an upset. "In the past, Spanish sides have not shown respect for smaller nations and have come unstuck," Camacho said. "No one has had an easy game against this team [Ireland]. Its mental attitude is stronger than its style of play." Prediction: Spain 2, Ireland 1

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