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‘Midfield control key to victory’

Spain's coach Luis Aragones said the key to Spain’s classy 3-0 semifinal win over Russia at Euro 2008 was controlling the midfield after Cesc Fabregas came on for injured striker David Villa.Special: Euro 2008

sports Updated: Jul 01, 2008 01:42 IST
Simon Baskett

The key to Spain’s classy 3-0 semifinal win over Russia at Euro 2008 was controlling the midfield after Cesc Fabregas came on for injured striker David Villa, coach Luis Aragones said on Thursday.

Special: Euro 2008

“When both (Fernando) Torres and Villa were on we had a little problem in dominating the midfield,” said Aragones. “But when Cesc came on we got control. We seem to be playing better with one striker than two, because we have more control and are able to exert more pressure in midfield.”

“We started the game playing the sort of football that suited Russia, playing too many long balls up front,” Aragones said.

“But once we started controlling possession, then I think it was our most complete game of the tournament and to do that in a semi-final is very difficult.”

Aragones praised his team’s achievement in reaching their first final for 24 years.

“The team has played for some time with this winning mentality,” he said. “Cesc and others in the team have the experience of 28-year-olds even though they are only 21 or 22. This team could also have a sensational World Cup.”

Hiddink gracious in defeat

RUSSIA’S DUTCH coach Guus Hiddink admitted Spain had been the better side and deserved to be in the Euro 2008 final after his side’s 3-0 defeat here on Thursday.

After a more cautious first-half Spain shook off the shackles in the second period and tore Russia apart with their crisp passing game.

And Hiddink, whose side had stunned Holland in the quarterfinals due to their physical condition, said that his team simply could not keep chasing shadows.

“We lost against a very good Spain team,” said Hiddink, who saw his hopes of a major final dashed again having taken Holland and South Korea to the 1998 and 2002 World Cup semifinals, respectively.

“We were more or less on the same level for an hour but we couldn’t keep it up.

“That was also their plan to make us tired, very tired so we couldn’t mark as well and couldn’t play as well in the second half.”