Andres Iniesta insists there is no chance of him underestimating the threat posed by France to Spain’s Euro 2012 chances.
While Spain were not at their brilliant best in clinching their place in the quarter-finals, Vicente del Bosque’s men are heavy favourites to defeat France on Saturday, with their opponents only having sneaked into the knockout stages after a surprise 2-0 loss to Sweden.
However, Iniesta said he had the utmost respect for a French side that tries to pose the same problems as the Camp Nou giants.
“France have a very strong team,” the Barca midfielder told France Football. “With Laurent Blanc, they try to play a bit like us (Spain).
“In some phases of play, they even remind me of Barca, especially in the way they carry the game to their opponents.
“It is clear they will try to fight for control of the ball because they have strong and technically gifted players. It will take a very strong Spain to prevail over them.”
The midfielder said France boasted one of the players who have impressed him most during the group stages of the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
“To name a few, I would say that Luka Modric played a great game against us. He is phenomenal,” Iniesta said.
“But I also noticed Yohan Cabaye in the France team. He had a great season at Newcastle and Laurent Blanc has given him a very important role in his team.
“And then there’s Andrea Pirlo, who needs no introduction. He has shown a remarkable level of performance since the beginning of the Euros.
“There are many others, it is difficult to name a few because the level of the European Championship is very high.”