No excuses for Spain after 1-1 draw with Italy

No excuses for Spain after 1-1 draw with Italy

Published Jun. 12, 2012 3:14 p.m. ET

Spain isn't looking for excuses at the European Championship, according to midfielder Sergio Busquets, even if they found one.

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 defense.

''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 win.''

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 problem.

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 opportunities.

''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.''