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Aragones insists whole Spanish Euro squad is important

SoccerNews in European Championships, La Liga 11 Jun 2008

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Spain coach Luis Aragones said every player in his squad is as important as the next despite hat-trick hero David Villa's match-winning performance in the 4-1 Euro 2008 Group D victory over Russia here.

Villa stole the headlines but Liverpool striker Fernando Torres also had a good game despite being hauled off just 10 minutes into the second half.

Aragones explained that decision was tactical and that everyone in his squad has their part to play during the tournament.

“I'm very happy with the whole group,” he said. “Everyone is well aware how important everyone is from the people on the bench to those who score three goals.

“I had to take someone off because we needed more insurance in the centre of the field.

“We are a team who are improving day by day in trying to achieve what we are all hoping for, which is why I'm a happy man.”

Aragones defended his decision to withdraw Torres so soon.

“Torres has played a long, tough season and will be a very important player for us but in this moment we needed more strength in the centre of the pitch,” he said.

“Their two midfielders, the 11 (captain Sergei Semak) and 14 (Roman Shirokov) were causing us problems.

“Fernando will be very important for the rest of the tournament and he was an important help for Villa to score that first goal and he gave a tough time to their defence.

“Villa is a striker and a scorer and he could even have scored more goals but it's the same with Fernando.

“We have the great fortune of having three forwards that can score goals but everyone knows that these goals come in streaks of good luck and (Tuesday) it was David, next time it could be Fernando.”

Spain are known for being perennial under-achievers in big tournaments, often starting out among the favourites but flattering to deceive once things get down to the business end.

At the last Euros they went out in the group stage and at the World Cup in Germany two years ago Spain failed to perform in the second round against France, losing 3-1.

But Aragones defended their record in this competition.

“There's always talk about Spain not having done so well and in some cases not reaching the final but we have reached the final twice (in 1964 they beat USSR 2-1 and in 1984 they lost 2-0 to France).

“As for that match against France this can happen to anyone, to France to Spain or Portugal.”

Aragones said that aside from the beginning of the game he was happy with his team.

“Apart from the first 15 minutes we didn't lose our structure, although we weren't as secure as we could have been,” he said.

“We didn't lose the ball and we attacked well because we had the ball and we have quality players. Our final ball was very good as well.”

“During the first 15 minutes it could have gone 1-1 but we went 2-0 (on the stroke of half-time) and that would give any team wings.”

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