at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Kiev – Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas said he believes the team gave Spaniards something to be happy about.
The La Roja captured their third European title Sunday after beating Italy 4-0 in a one-sided final in the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, and Fabregas, who created one of the goals, said the players had been determined to do well.
“We just wanted to do well for our country, to keep winning, to keep people happy,” he said. “We are going through a very difficult period in Spain, and we made everybody happy, at least for tonight.”
Surprisingly, Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque used the Barcelona midfielder as a striker throughout the tournament. “It is obviously the first tournament in my life that I played as a striker,” Fabregas said.
He admitted that it had not been easy at first: “It was very difficult at the beginning, but I think I got used to it very, very well.
“I probably played my best game in the final, and I am very proud of it.”
First-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba and late strikes by substitutes Fernando Torres and Juan Mata gave Spain a third-consecutive major title after the 2008 Euro and the World Cup two years ago.
Fabregas said that even though they had created history by becoming the first team to win three consecutive titles and back-to-back Euro titles, he was looking for more success.
“I am still missing two things to have the complete package in football, which is the Champions League and the league,” he said. “I have not won the league with Arsenal and now with Barcelona, so that is one thing I am looking forward to next season.”
Spain's last defeat in knock-out play at a major competition occurred in 2006 when France beat them in the World Cup. Since then, they have gone 10 matches undefeated without conceding a goal.
However, prior to Sunday's match, they have also only scored nine goals in their nine knock-out matches and only once managed to score more than a single goal.
This led to some criticism that they play boring football, but Fabregas dismissed such claims: “We have been showing for years that we have a style of play and we do not pretend to like everybody.
“We believe in what we do, and it proves us right. We cannot play any other way because Iniesta is not strong, I am not strong, Xavi is not strong, so we have to play quick football, combination football.
“It is the way we have to play and we enjoy it and we are proud of it. I think the success suggests that we are doing it right. It is the way in which we won the treble.”
The 25-year-old said they have been playing like that for six years.
“Maybe in Germany, we did not perform against France the way we wanted to, but after that, we were at the very, very top level,” he said. “Definitely, we are very happy with the way we play. People might think we are boring, but I don't think so.” – Sapa-dpa