Their run to the final of the Europa League has been arduous, but Bobby Zamora says Fulham's thrilling journey had been achieved with a spirit unlike any other he had witnessed. The Cottagers were the striker's fourth club in seven years and he was one of several players that critics believed had seen better days. Not so. Consistent performances and a 19-goal haul put Zamora in the frame for England's World Cup squad until he missed out today on a place in the provisional 30-man squad. But he said Fulham's march to the first European final in their 131-year history had not been down to individuals. "We play as a team; that's no secret," said Zamora, 29. "A lot of people look at our team and say we are not the greatest on paper, but we don't care. We work hard to show what we can do and if it proves people wrong, then even better.
"Write us off if you want, but we will give it our all. I've never known anything like it. We have been the underdogs in pretty much every game and we just don't give up. We know how important it is for this club to do something special." Zamora described the attitude as "never-say-die" as they have surprised top sides, such as Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and the German duo of Wolfsburg and Hamburg, to confirm tomorrow's showdown with Atletico Madrid. Zamora hoped he could shake off an Achilles injury to play and added: "We are going to go out there to give it our all. It's one game only and we don't want to have any regrets. "I'm desperate to be out there. It's a massive moment in my career."
The man who has brought the best out of Zamora and moulded Fulham to challenge for honours is Roy Hodgson. They were battling against relegation when he took over in 2007. Now they are feared in Europe. Zamora said: "He's been brilliant for us. He looks calm out there, but his mind is always working, whether it's on the game or what comes next." John Pantsil highlighted the Hamburg game for further evidence of Hodgson's qualities. The manager replaced Zamora and the right-back with forwards Clint Dempsey and Erik Nevland and Fulham turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 victory. Pantsil said: "We have a special manager who is not afraid to take a chance to win games. As a player, he makes you believe anything is possible." Hodgson will hope that is the case once more in the final at Hamburg's Nordbank Arena. email@example.com