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Fabregas set for a start in the final

sports Updated: Jul 01, 2008 01:42 IST
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After playing as a substitute for Spain throughout the Euro championship, Cesc Fabregas may have earned himself a spot in the starting line-up just in time for the final.

Special: Euro 2008

The Arsenal midfielder set up two of Spain’s three goals in Thursday’s 3-0 semifinal win over Russia after coming on for injured striker David Villa in the first half. All the goals came after Fabregas’ 34th-minute introduction. “We played well. We dominated and when we saw openings we took advantage of them,” Fabregas said. “We came here to return with the cup. There are 90 minutes left but we want to return with the cup,” he said, adding that Germany would present a difficult challenge in the final. “Germany is Germany. They are very competitive,” he said.

Fabregas has come on as a substitute in four of Spain’s five matches in Euro 2008. His only game as a starter was the final group match against Greece, when Spain coach Luis Aragones fielded his substitutes because Spain had already advanced to the second round. With Villa doubtful for the final, there’s a good chance Aragones will make room for Fabregas in a five-man midfield instead of fielding another striker.

Aragones said Spain wasn’t able to control the midfield the way it wants to with Villa and Fernando Torres up top against Russia. Fabregas said he would respect the coach’s decision no matter what.

“We just want to make the fans at home happy and we think we can go all the way,” Fabregas said.

Villa goes for tests

Spain striker David Villa will have tests on his injured leg before team officials decide whether he is fit to play in Sunday’s European Championship final against Germany.

Villa, who is top scorer with four goals, limped off with a pulled leg muscle after taking a free kick during Thursday’s 3-0 semifinal win over Russia. The injury happened in the 34th minute with the score 0-0.

“Today, Villa is going to undergo some tests at the AKH hospital in Vienna,” the Spanish football federation said in a statement on Friday. “We will make another statement when we have spoken to a doctor and received the results.”