No excuses for Spain after 1-1 draw with Italy

Spain isn’t looking for excuses at the European Championship,

according to midfielder Sergio Busquets, even if they found


After being held to a 1-1 draw by Italy in Group C at the PGE

Arena in Gdansk, Spain complained that a dry pitch hindered its

short-passing game and ability to break down the Italian


”To unsettle the opponent on a pitch that hasn’t been cut, that

has been left a little longer, that makes it a little harder for

us. You have to spend time worrying about control when the rival is

bearing down on you, and the ball doesn’t arrive at your teammate’s

feet that one-second quicker to help you break through defenses and

the midfield,” Busquets said Tuesday at the team’s training base

in northern Poland. ”It harmed our game a lot but it was a

decision taken by UEFA. We don’t want them to help us but we want

everything to be equal.

”I’m not trying to make excuses, that’s just the reality.”

Busquets called on UEFA to make changes in time for Thursday’s

match against Ireland, which is expected to play conservatively

after opening with a 3-1 loss to Croatia.

”They couldn’t play their football because in Spain they have

the pitch very, very good, but I don’t know,” Ireland coach

Giovanni Trapattoni said. ”Obviously, the pitch is going to

influence the Spanish technique. But when you play well, you


It’s not the first time a team has trotted out excuses at the

tournament. Italy said after opening Euro 2004 with a 0-0 draw

against Denmark that it shoes didn’t fit, the socks were too rough

and the heat was too much.

Busquets did not see Vicente del Bosque’s tactics as the


Spain started a game with no recognized strikers for the first

time in five years, even though the world champions have Fernando

Torres, Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo available. Spain

failed to make an impact inside Italy’s area until the second half

and even then Torres failed to score on several clear


”We all understand the coach’s decision and every one he takes

is for the good of the team, to win games,” Busquets said. ”It

was the first game and it’s always hard to get going. (But) when it

comes to a playing style I don’t think there’s a team with a more

attractive one than ours.”

There was no indication of whether Del Bosque would alter his

lineup against the Irish, who have made it no secret that Chelsea’s

Champions League victory over Barcelona provided a model for

playing Spain.

”They’ve got different players to those with Italy, we are

going to see a compact team that will be complicated to break

down,” forward Jesus Navas said. ”We have to go at them and win

the three points.”