Torres: Spain must learn from Russia
• Champions guard against complacency ahead of Croatia clash
• Torres aims to ‘put a smile on people’s faces’ back in Spain
Spain go into their final Group C game against Croatia as ov erwhelming favourites to qualify for the quarter-finals. They are top of the group on four points, have been lauded for their performances and are one of only two teams to have scored four goals in a solitary match.
The other was Russia. And Russia, who also went into the final game seemingly guaranteed to progress, top of their group with four points and five goals scored, are out. Fernando Torres admitted that their elimination has come as a timely warning for Spain, while their coach, Vicente del Bosque, insisted that praise is dangerous.
“The Russia result is a good wake-up call for us,” Torres said. “We need to win the last game. This is a tournament where even with six points you can go out. Against an opponent like Croatia who also need to win, we need to be careful. We are aware of their strengths, we have been watching videos and we believe that we can play our game and win. But the most important thing is for us to respect them. We know that Russia are out because of just one goal. That is a warning.”
Del Bosque continued along similar lines. “The worst thing that can ever happen in football is for people to think it is easy. Russia getting knocked out shows that football is permanently handing out lessons. Anyone filling in their pools coupon would have gone for Poland and Russia but it was Greece and the Czech Republic who went through.
“That’s football and we have to be aware of what may happen. It is extremely dangerous to consider yourself better than the other team. And so much praise is dangerous too. You have to protect yourself from that and prepare yourself for adversity.”
Torres also rejected suggestions that the two sides could agree to draw 2-2, a result that would put them both through. He insisted that talk of a pact was “a lack of respect”. And he clearly felt that there has been a similar lack of respect in media coverage of his performances since leaving Liverpool. Asked if he felt that he was getting back to his Liverpool form, having scored twice against the Republic of Ireland, Torres responded sharply: “It is your job to decide and that has been your job ever since I moved to Chelsea.
“I have been playing with confidence. I am enjoying the time I am spending here and I was given the chance and the trust of the coach in the second game. We all train to be part of the starting XI and then if the coach picks you, perfect. If he picks someone else, perfect too. What matters is that we win.”
“We know that people back home are going through a bad time, we all have friends and family who are struggling [with the financial crisis]. If football can be an escape valve and take people’s minds off the situation for a while, that can provide us with extra motivation. Hopefully we can help to unite the country and put a smile on people’s faces.”
Del Bosque said he has finally signed a two-year contract extension that will see him lead the world cham pions in their title defence in Brazil in 2014. The most successful coach in the national team’s history previously said a deal was in place but he preferred not to sign it before the European Championship. The 61-year-old, who took over from Luis Aragonés following the country’s Euro 2008 win, said “there was no rush” to sign the deal. Read More