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Spain set to work in bid to end recent hoodoo

SoccerNews in La Liga 6 Jun 2008

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Spain got down to business at their Austrian base on Friday determined to snap a recent poor streak which has brought premature heartbreak at major tournaments.

Coach Luis Aragones put the squad through their paces in Neustift but had to rest injured strikers David Villa and Sergio Garcia for the majority of the session although Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres trained normally as they recovered from food poisoning and andkle trouble respectively.

Villa, suffering from a right quadriceps injury after a training ground incident on Tuesday, and Garcia (bruised calf) had to content themselves with basic exercises but both expect to be in the frane for Tuesday's opening match against Russia in Group D.

If Villa is deemed not to be 100 percent fit then Aragones is set to call upon Mallorca striker Dani Guiza to partner Torres.

The last eight has often proved a barrier for Spain, whose only international success came at Euro 64,

Last time out four years ago defeat to Portugal meant they failed to advance past the group phase but at both the Euro and World Cup they have often endured a last eight hoodoo.

“I don't fear a new quarter-final elimination. Clearly, if we play well we can go further,” said Guiza, who was league top scorer in Spain this season with 27 goals.

Spain took some brickbats after only beating the United States 1-0 in their final warm-up match but Guiza insisted that “I don't care what people are saying. We have to stay calm and not listen to these commentaries.”

After facing Russia thew Spaniards take on Sweden and then titleholders Greece.

In 2004, a win over the Russians and a draw with the Greeks was not enough to get out of the group.

Yet Spain are in form, coming into the finals on the back of six straight wins.

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