Euro 2012: Cesc Fabregas wary of threat posed by Man City forward
THE threat of Italy striker Mario Balotelli and the prospect of an unprecedented treble occupied Spain’s Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Ramos before tomorrow’s Euro 2012 final, but neither thought those obstacles too big to overcome.
Spain face the Italians at the Olympic Stadium bidding to become the first national side to win three successive major honours following their triumphs at Euro 2008 and the World Cup in South Africa two years ago.
Balotelli must be stopped if Spain are to retain their title. Barcelona’s Fabregas, when at Arsenal, played against Manchester City striker Balotelli in the Premier League the season before last, and knows better than most members of the Spanish squad what his qualities are.
“I think he is a great player. He showed that [on Thursday against Germany],” said Fabregas. “He had two fantastic moments and scored two great goals. One a true centre-forward’s header and the other one from a cracking shot from outside the area in a European Championship semi-final against a top team like Germany.
“This tells you everything. I really liked they way he played and he will be, of course, a threat as well as [Antonio] Cassano or any other forward who plays with Italy. They are always very dangerous, but we have the players to stop them. We have defended well. We have to neutralise their attack and midfield where [Andrea] Pirlo is the player, otherwise he will take control of the match.
Fabregas has already scored against Italy in this tournament, netting the equaliser in a 1-1 draw in their opening group game, while Ramos has played every minute of this campaign.
Like all their players, he is fully aware that Spain can achieve an unprecedented treble on Sunday, but was trying to keep the expectations of his nation in perspective. “We have to be realistic about Sunday’s challenge,” said Ramos. “We need to play at a high level because, up until today, nobody has been able to achieve three titles in a row and we have the possibility to do it. It takes a lot of years of work, humility, sacrifice and now is the time to enjoy these moments.”
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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