Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

History-making Cesc Fabregas proud to prove Spain's critics wrong

Spain's Cesc Fabregas holds the trophy at the end of the the Euro 2012 soccer championship final between Spain and Italy in Kiev
Spain's players celebrate with the trophy after the Euro 2012 soccer championship final between Spain and Italy in Kiev
DONETSK, UKRAINE - JUNE 19: A Ukraine fan enjoys the atmopshere during the UEFA EURO 2012 group D match between England and Ukraine at Donbass Arena on June 19, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Cesc Fabregas has accused the critics who branded Euro 2012 winners Spain boring of not knowing anything about football.

Fabregas' old Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is one of those who condemned Spain for their negative play, adding his voice before the final to the argument that La Roja now use their famed passing game merely to to prevent their opponents getting the ball rather than anything constructive.

Spain provided the perfect answer in Kiev last night, scoring twice in each half for a record-breaking 4-0 win over Italy in Kiev.

And, speaking to Radio Five Live, Fabregas let rip.

"Those people who think we are playing boring, in my opinion they don't understand the game," he said.

And Fabregas admitted it was difficult coming to terms with the magnitude of becoming the first side in history to win three tournaments in a row.

"It feels really amazing, one of the best days of my life," he said.

"Three major trophies in a row has never been done before in the history of football.

"I don't think we're ready to see what we have done yet."

First-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba put Spain in control.

And once Thiago Motta had gone off with a hamstring injury just four minutes after his introduction, Italy were forced to play the final half hour with 10 men.

That allowed Spain to really rub it in as Fernando Torres added a third before setting up Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata to wrap up an incredible win.

"It's true we were lucky enough to play a great match," said coach Vicente Del Bosque.

"Everything worked for us.

"It was an extraordinary performance against a difficult opponent."

Unlike Fabregas, Del Bosque opted to steer a delicate path through the 'boring' debate.

And he insisted the jibes had not been used as motivation.

"We played our own game," he said.

"There were no real external influences: we were faithful to what we've done in recent years."

Del Bosque expressed some sympathy for Italy, who had less preparation time after Thursday's semi-final win over Germany.

"The Italians have played a great tournament," said Del Bosque.

"They had the bad luck of the injury to Thiago Motta and that's where it all ended for them, unfortunately."

Andres Iniesta claimed the man-of-the-match award after another outstanding performance.

He is one of four players - Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xavi are the others - to have started all three final triumphs.

"It's very nice to have this man-of-the-match trophy but it's especially great to be champions again," he said.

"The team played a great match and all the players were on their top level.

"We are very happy."

Iniesta backed up Del Bosque's sentiments about criticism having no effect.

The Barcelona man insisted Spain stayed true to their beliefs.

"Everybody has their opinion," he said.

"We are not here to say that our game is the most beautiful of them all.

"Everyone has a different view.

"Today, we had a great level of play and were faithful to our style.

"That they only had 10 players made things easier for us.

"This victory is unique and magical.

"It is something that cannot be repeated.

"We haven't ignored how great it is."

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