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Spain coach Luis Aragonés was full of praise for his Group D winners after first international strikes from Daniel Güiza and Rubén de la Red earned them a 2-1 win over Greece and maintained their 100 per cent record at UEFA EURO 2008™. Aragonés said the performance was "as well as we have played" although he admitted they would now face arguably the tournament's toughest quarter-final opponents in Italy. Greece coach Otto Rehhagel, meanwhile, was left to reflect on a miserable campaign but claimed he had "no regrets" about his squad selection for the finals.
Luis Aragonés, Spain coach
Let's hope we have enough quality to win in the quarter-finals. In the second half, the effort from my players showed that they are in great shape physically. We didn't have the tempo we needed in the first half, we were playing at Greece's rhythm, but in the second half we played as well as we have played – we had five or six chances and could have scored more goals. We know we face a great opponent [in Italy]. It's going to be difficult but they probably think the same about us.
Obviously, we are facing the world champions – the four-times world champions – so perhaps it is the most difficult of the quarter-finals but any tie at this stage is going to involve a strong team, and in the semi-finals even more so. All of the teams who have qualified have rested players because the tournament schedule is compressed into a few days and this means that players have got to be able to recuperate. The only thing we need now is a positive attitude. We have to forget it is Italy or whoever and think about winning – that's it. What's important is positive thinking and with that, we will get there.
Otto Rehhagel, Greece coach
I wish we could at least have drawn this match. I think the team tried hard and we had a number of good opportunities. But unfortunately, when Spain applied pressure we allowed ourselves to drop back too much. Overall the team managed to implement what we talked about in training and I think we put on a good show for our final match. It was true that Spain had more possession, which is why we conceded the second goal. Obviously we were leading 1-0 and a number of players had an outstanding match. Everybody wanted to win but unfortunately we were unable to seize our chance to go ahead at 2-1. We are a team that has difficulty scoring, as I've said before.
I have no regrets – we selected the squad we did and I think we made the right choice. We lost to Russia, a team who beat Sweden tonight. Spain have outstanding players, they always have had, and the Swedes also have great players. We don't have to be ashamed that we have not beaten these teams. We said we would try and see what we could do here – we didn't say that we would come and win 3-0, 4-0, and 6-0. For the time being we have to digest what has happened and after the EURO is over we can start analysing what happened and start thinking about the [FIFA] World Cup qualifiers.
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