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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Clemente happy with Serbia's spirit in Belgium win

BELGRADE, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Serbia's Spanish coach Javier Clemente was happy with the commitment and fighting spirit his team demonstrated in a 1-0 win over Belgium in their Euro 2008 Group A qualifier on Saturday.

'We did a good job and I am overjoyed with the commitment, the work rate and the fighting spirit the lads showed,' Clemente told reporters.

'It is so important to see that they are playing their hearts out even if when they are not performing well. With all their strengths and weaknesses, I am proud of these players and they are the best we've got.

'There were mistakes too but that's part of the game and we controlled it for more than an hour. Belgium came storming back but (keeper) Vladimir Stojkovic rescued us with a couple of excellent saves.'

The victory left Serbia top of a tight group with seven points from three matches, two more than Finland and three ahead of Portugal, Belgium and Poland.

Serbia's pressure paid off when Nikola Zigic broke the deadlock in the 54th minute but the home side were forced to hang on desperately in the closing stages as the Belgians hit the woodwork twice.

'It was a team effort and my goal came after some good team play too,' said Zigic, who swept home a perfect low cross from left back Ivica Dragutinovic after some hard work by right wing Ognjen Koroman.

'The important thing is that we won and we can now look forward to Wednesday's match with Armenia. Another victory would leave us firmly in the driving seat and that's why we must stay focused,' the Racing Santander striker said.

Captain Dejan Stankovic believes a succession of home wins would put Serbia in a good position to reach the finals in Switzerland and Austria.

'It is absolutely crucial to win all our matches in Belgrade and I think we can do that,' he said.

'It is early days yet and this group, the only one with eight rather than seven teams, is like a mini championship so I really wouldn't complain over a run of 1-0 wins at home.'