Monday, March 20, 2023

Aragones rings the changes for qualified Spain

SoccerNews in La Liga 15 Jun 2008


Spanish coach Luis Aragones said on Sunday he intended to ring the changes and give the fringe players a run out in their final, Group D pool match against outgoing champions Greece.

Having secured their passage to the last eight of Euro 2008 as group winners the pressure is off Spain and Aragones, not generally one to experiment, can at least give himself a little more free rein to see what else he has in his squad locker.

“I think I am going to change everything around. We are group winners and you have to offer everyone an opportunity. That's really what I think,” said Aragones.

“In a group united as ours everyone deserves this opportunity,” the man known as the Wise Man of Hortaleza told a press conference in the Spaniards' camp at Neustift, Austria.

Aragones also saluted the talent of striker David Villa, who added the injury-time clincher against the Swedes to his hattrick which pulverised the Russians in the opening game.

“He has the ability to create opportunities when you think there is none,” enthused Aragones, who has smoothed over his mini spat with Villa's strike partner Fernando Torres, disappointed to have been hauled off against the Russians to allow Cesc Fabregas to bolster the midfield.

“Both are great footballers who have a good understanding,” said Aragones of his lethal strike force.

“I hope they can keep their hot streak of form going.”

He added it was to Spain's advantage that most of the current squad also experienced the World Cup second-round elimination at the hands of France two years ago in Germany.

“Most of the players have already experienced a big event. It is the little things which take you through and they are youngsters who have learned as much. The World Cup was an important experience,” said Aragones, who has previously insisted that the loss to the French still rankles.

The French could be Spain's last eight opponents – but only if they beat Italy in their final pool match.

Otherwise it is the Azzurri or Romania who will stand in Spain's way of a semi-final berth.

“France and Italy know how to compete and while everyone had Romania as down and out they are still in there. It is complicated,” said Aragones, keen to take Spain to only their second international triumph after Euro 64.


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