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Fàbregas sings Iniesta's praises

Published: Friday 29 June 2012, 19.10CET
Cesc Fàbregas refused to be drawn on Spain's formation against Italy but said Andrés Iniesta is a "source of immense confidence" for a team bidding to make history in Sunday's final.
by Graham Hunter
from Kyiv
Fàbregas sings Iniesta's praises
Cesc Fàbregas could start up front again on Sunday ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 29 June 2012, 19.10CET

Fàbregas sings Iniesta's praises

Cesc Fàbregas refused to be drawn on Spain's formation against Italy but said Andrés Iniesta is a "source of immense confidence" for a team bidding to make history in Sunday's final.

Cesc Fàbregas refused to be drawn on whether Spain would play a recognised centre-forward in the UEFA EURO 2012 final, instead the FC Barcelona midfielder chose to sing the praises of club-mate Andrés Iniesta and stress that La Roja will do everything they can to make history on Sunday.

Fàbregas deputised for leading scorer David Villa in the UEFA EURO 2008 showpiece, playing just behind Fernando Torres in a role which helped create space for the now Chelsea FC striker to score the winning goal against Germany.

Villa's absence from Poland and Ukraine has meant that this time Fàbregas and Torres have been in outright competition for a position in Vicente del Bosque's starting XI. The race to make the teamsheet gathered pace when Álvaro Negredo was given the starting centre-forward spot against Portugal in the semi-final.

The fact that Fàbregas, as he did in Vienna four years previously against Italy, struck the winning penalty has left some suggesting that he now has an advantage over the three other potential central strikers, Torres, Negredo and the unused Fernando Llorente.

However, the former Arsenal FC man believes that the fuss over the forward position is obscuring a couple of important points – firstly that Spain are on the brink of making history and secondly that Iniesta is having the tournament of his life.

"Andrés is getting better and better from game to game," said Fàbregas. "He had a difficult season at club level because of repetitive injuries, but he's in an extraordinary moment of his career at this tournament. This is having a huge impact on how we play.

"He's creative, he runs with the ball, he's got a brilliant final pass and with each passing year he's become more of a goalscorer as well as a provider. He's a source of immense confidence for us. During matches you can see him taking on more and more responsibility and in attack he's the team's reference point."

Indeed, it was Fàbregas who set up Iniesta to score the winner in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final against the Netherlands. Having already conquered Europe in 2008, it means that should Spain defeat Cesare Prandelli's side on Sunday in Kyiv then La Roja will have achieved something which no nation has ever done.

"We've already made history with the two consecutive trophies we've won, but, of course, we want a little bit more and came here with that as our objective," said the 25-year-old. "We'll give everything we have to win the tournament, not simply to make history. It's in our nature to try and win. Should be we be able to do so then we can celebrate with our friends and family. I know Spain is a football-obsessed country which is right behind us at the moment."

Fabregas is well aware that the Azzurri are in prime form and he respects the array of talent they have at their disposal. "[Mario] Balotelli's goals against Germany tell you all you need to know – he's a star and the first one was scored like an old fashioned centre-forward. We have to try and restrict Balotelli, [Antonio] Cassano and, above all, [Andrea] Pirlo, who had a great game the other night. It's going to be a very tight, very competitive final and the winner will have proved themselves the best team in this tournament."

Last updated: 29/06/12 19.12CET

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