ONE THING IS for sure. Whatever happens tomorrow, Spain will have no regrets: either about their style or taking the chance to eliminate from the group stages.
Certainly, that was the message from the team’s defining player, Xavi, who is on the verge of a record third major-tournament victory.
“I think we did our work in the group stage. There has been speculation about this [2-2 draw against Croatia that could have eliminated Italy]. As our coach said, we never regret playing for the win and we will not regret it if case we lose tomorrow.
“If it is boring that Spain always wins, this is ideal for us. We are making history in this sport and we are really looking forward to tomorrow.
We are not bored. We enjoy our game. We want to continue with the style that has brought us so many victories. All the players that come to the team know how to play. We know how to appreciate talent and play. I think all football fans must enjoy it.
“The truth is I’m feeling very lucky because, some years ago, football had a tendency to be more physical, condensed. We were very lucky to have slightly weaker footballers [in a physical sense] but maybe technically more talented. That’s what we are trying. We want to play a more spectacular game.
“Footballers like [Andrea] Pirlo and players of the Spanish and Italian sides are playing a similar style so I’m very happy the tendency is now to play and be more attacking.
“All these victories are a motivation for me. I really feel great playing with our philosophy. The philosophy is great for our characteristics. I really hope we will win, that’s the most important thing for me.
Xavi, meanwhile, was asked to reflect on what it actually felt like to be at a third successive final.
“You don’t believe it until you’re there. We have achieved great things… we want to continue creating history and tomorrow we have another chance.
We just want to enjoy it because we’re in the final. Many things have changed since the last Euros but we just want to do well and show this side is still hungry for winning and our football is good.”
Tomorrow, it may well be the difference.
“I think one of the keys will be ball possession. Both teams want that and we will see how they want to play.”