Euro 2012: Andres Iniesta rejects boring Spain tag

 

Euro 2012: Portugal v Spain

  • Venue: Donbass Arena, Donetsk
  • Date: Wednesday, 27 June
  • Kick-off: 19:45 BST

Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Sport website

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has rejected claims his team's playing style is boring ahead of their Euro 2012 semi-final against Portugal.

Iniesta insists Spain's defensive-minded opponents are to blame for games that have been low on goalmouth drama.

"When a team always wants to attack against an opponent who shuts up shop, football is not as attractive as when the game is open," he said.

LAWRO'S PREDICTION

"Spain believe they are unbeatable but, with Cristiano Ronaldo on song, Portugal will think otherwise. Since playing so negatively for 70 minutes against Germany in their opening game, they have been as good as any team at Euro 2012."

"Our style of play has led us to success, to winning titles."

Spain's possession-based style, known as "tiki-taka", has helped them win the 2008 European Championship and 2010 World Cup.

But at Euro 2012, they have come in for criticism for lacking attacking intent and strangling the life out of games.

Coach Vicente Del Bosque has opted not to field a centre-forward in two of their four games, while their 2-0 quarter-final victory over France was more routine than ravishing.

Iniesta, whose extra-time goal sealed a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final, said Spain would not be changing their winning formula.

"Football's so great because not everyone likes the same thing, we don't have to all agree on everything," he said.

"For us, the play that we have, the way we have of doing things, is what has led us to our success, to winning titles.

"We feel identified with our style of play, and a few years ago this style changed the history of Spain for good."

Tale of the Tape

Spain Portugal

Source: Opta

32

Shots on target

22

60.4%

Shooting accuracy

39.3%

15.1%

Chance conversion

10.7%

2,979

Total passes

1,476

89.5%

Pass completion

78.5%

68.2%

Average possession

45.9%

Del Bosque backed up his players' stance, dismissing the idea that Spain have taken a step back since 2010.

"Of course we don't want to stagnate," he said. "We want to go forward, and winning two trophies is proof of our qualities.

"We've got our own style. People might not like it, but it's a style that brought us success. And people are always looking for things to complain about."

Iniesta also played down concerns over the fact Portugal have had an extra two days of rest before the semi-final at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.

"At this stage what we want to do is play, not think about those two days," he said.

"The competition is set up like that, at other times we will have more of a break than another team. Right now we shouldn't be thinking about tiredness, but of playing well, of being precise, efficient and we can think about tiredness when the competition is over."

Spain beat Portugal 1-0 in the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup, but lost 4-0 to their Iberian neighbours in a Lisbon friendly in November of the same year.

Del Bosque knows what to expect from opponents who have progressed to the last four through a fast, counter-attacking game, with wingers Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani to the fore.

"They are very stable, they have stuck with the same starting line-up and don't except any change except for (the injured striker Helder) Postiga," he said.

"They are stable and their coach (Paulo Bento) really knows what he is doing. We will see if they do something new but I'm expecting the same Portugal we saw in the other four games."

Highlights - Spain 1-0 Portugal