ANDRES Iniesta says Spain’s feat in retaining the European Championship, while also being the reigning world champions, is ”something that will never be repeated”.
The midfielder, named man of the match after the 4-0 victory over Italy, said the achievement would remain ”unique” although Spain’s coach Vicente del Bosque declared that the next target was now also to retain the World Cup in Brazil in two years’ time.
Iniesta’s teammate Cesc Fabregas, meanwhile, said the hugely impressive performance had silenced critics who had accused Spain of playing so-called boring football. ”I think so. Those people who think we are playing boring … in my opinion they don’t understand the game,” he said.
”This feels really amazing, one of the best days of my life. I don’t think we’re ready to see what we have done yet. Three major trophies in a row has never been done before in the history of football. It’s difficult to realise what we have done, but in time I think we will. It’s amazing.”
Spain have now won the last three major tournaments – Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 – and will now try to retain the World Cup. ”Now we have to just go on,” Del Bosque said. ”Qualifying for the World Cup, the Confederations Cup … this success for Spanish football is something historic now.
”We are talking about a great generation of footballers. They have roots, they know how to play because they come from a country where they learn to play, and this is the feeling of sport in our country. In football, we have done a great job. So this is a great era for Spanish football.”
His words were reinforced by Iniesta. ”We are not here to say that our game is the most beautiful of them all,” he explained. ”Today, we had a great level of play and we were faithful to our style.
”Now we want to enjoy the victory. It’s unique. It’s magical.”
Del Bosque brushed aside questions over his tactical formation – and the debate over whether Spain should play with a striker rather than with Fabregas as a so-called ”false nine”.
”I think there is not one ‘football’,” he said. ”The important thing is to score goals, and our players are very intelligent. We have security in our players, and we also have strikers. But we decided to play with players who fitted better into our style.
”It was an extraordinary performance against a difficult opponent. We played our own game. There were no external influences: we were faithful to what we’ve done in recent years.”
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli, who has overseen a remarkable transformation in his country’s fortunes in two years, said he would carry on.
”I think we deserve an eight out of 10,” he said. ”It’s a high mark because the lads have shown that if you show terrific team spirit and work hard then you can chase a dream. They have shown you can lose with dignity.”
SPAIN 4 (David Silva 14, Jordi Alba 41, Fernando Torres 84, Juan Mata 88)
CROWD: 63,170 at Olimpiyskyi, Kiev.
REFEREE: Pedro Proenca
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