Spain eyes first win against France at Euro 2012
Spain hopes to make history and mix it with a little revenge in
Saturday’s European Championship quarterfinal against France.
Spain has never beaten the French in six competitive fixtures,
with the most recent loss coming at the 2006 World Cup. Spain
hasn’t been eliminated from a major tournament since and defender
Sergio Ramos doesn’t want another French victory to end his team’s
bid to capture a third straight major title.
”Football offers up something nice, which is you always get a
chance at revenge and tomorrow night we get that chance,” said
Ramos, who played in that 3-1 second-round loss to Les Bleus in
Hannover, Germany. ”In 2006, we didn’t possess the maturity or the
experience that we have now. We were in the midst of being formed
into a team, with a lot of new players.”
Since that result, Spain has gone on to hone the quick-touch,
possession-based game that led the country to Euro 2008 and 2010
World Cup triumphs. Between those title wins, the French claimed a
fifth victory in those six official games.
”There are facts that can’t be denied, and we will strive to
change that,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said Friday from the
Donbass Arena. ”We’re favorites since we’re world and European
champions, but in the prior matchups France has been superior to
us. Let’s see if we are capable of changing that precedent by
extending the success we’ve achieved.”
Del Bosque said he had doubts over his lineup after the
unconvincing 1-0 victory over Croatia, which helped Spain finish
top of its group.
Spain’s attack has been led by striker Fernando Torres or
midfielder Cesc Fabregas, and there was no further clarity over
which way Del Bosque would lean in the team’s first match in
Ukraine. Striker Fernando Llorente, who impressed this season with
Athletic Bilbao, remains unused at Euro 2012.
”I have a doubt, but it’s better to have one,” the former Real
Madrid coach said. ”We have options and we’ll try to pick the team
that offer us the best chance. We’ve always had these doubts, it’s
not a question of it being the quarterfinals.”
Spain was not letting news of France’s heated dressing-room
bust-up following its loss to Sweden soften the team’s
”In every household of every family, there are arguments,”
Ramos said, ”and that doesn’t necessarily mean the unit is
The Spanish are the masters of keeping possession but the French
themselves have players such as Samir Nasri, Franck Ribery and
Yohan Cabaye who are comfortable on the ball, making the match
potentially one for the purists.
”They like to hold possession, their midfield likes the ball,
Ribery wants it,” said midfielder Juan Mata, who is still looking
to make his first appearance at the tournament.
”If the game turns out to be like the ones against our past
opponents, then we’ve been working on variety of ways to break them