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   June 16, 2002 | 2100 IST


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McCarthy sickened by penalties loss

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Ireland coach Mick McCarthy said it was sickening to lose their World Cup second round match against Spain in a penalty shootout on Sunday.

"I'm very proud - we didn't deserve to lose in the end, we deserved to win in normal win. Sickening," McCarthy said.

"There are no recriminations, we've had a wonderful, wonderful World Cup," he added after his Irish side suffered the heartbreak of losing 3-2 on penalties after Spain substitute Gaizka Mendieta scored the decisive spot-kick.

"I just feel so sorry for the guys. I have nothing but admiration for the 22 wonderful players and 10 staff who have been fantastic," said McCarthy.

"I think we have every reason to be proud of a performance like that. We are going out of the tournament unbeaten in my mind. We have played some fantastic football and we've probably done Spain some damage for their future games...

"I thought Spain were potential winners, but we have played very well. Perhaps if we got through this with a little bit of luck in the penalty shootout, perhaps we would be a potential winner (of the tournament).

Asked if Ireland had practised for a shootout, McCarthy said: "Practising penalties is garbage. You stand up and take them and it's all about whether you fancy it on the night.

"I have seen Mendieta scuff a penalty and he is one of the best strikers of a ball I've seen. There are no criticisms or recriminations (about our penalty takers) from me.

Asked about his bust-up with former captain Roy Keane, who McCarthy sent home ahead of the tournament after a public row, the Ireland coach said: "I don't think that incident or person deserves any mention at this moment in time. Talk to me about the 22 guys (in the squad) and I'll discuss it.

McCarthy said Ireland always go on to the pitch determined to win every match, but they do it with a smile.

"We are friendly people who try to do it with a smile on our face. We are passionate about our football. We really want to win, we are ambitious. We played with a 3-4-3 (formation) and we wanted to win it.

"I have nothing but pride and admiration for my players."

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