Salzburg, June 19:
A perfect start to the European Championship has Spain believing they can ditch that notorious underachiever tag, and a quarter-final win against Italy on Sunday would certainly do a lot to help.
â€œWeâ€™re going to do it. Weâ€™re going to win,â€ midfielder Cesc Fabregas said on Thursday. â€œWe have to do it however we can. If we have to play ugly, weâ€™ll do so.â€ Fabregas called on his teammates to forget about Italy and focus on their game plan, which consists of patiently using possession in midfield before attacking.
Spain coach Luis Aragones has all 23 players fit after center back Carles Puyol and left flanker David Silva returned from foot injuries to train on Thursday. Strikers Fernando Torres and David Villa, who leads the tournament with four goals scored, return after being rested against Greece.
Italy will be without AC Milan midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso for the match at Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna due to suspension. â€œThat neither of them are there is the best news for Spain,â€ Fabregas said.
The 69-year-old Aragones believes his current squad â€” one of the youngest in the tournament â€” can overcome the teamâ€™s long-held reputation of being mentally fragile and win a second major football title, after their 1964 European Championship victory. â€œI hope that the best team wins. And that the best will be Spain,â€ Aragones said.