• Euro 2012

Xavi hits back at Spain's critics

ESPN staff
June 30, 2012
Xavi has been integral to Spain's recent successes © Getty Images

Spain midfielder Xavi wants to further write his name in history by winning Euro 2012 on Sunday, which would make Spain the first team to win three consecutive major international tournaments.

Xavi, 32, has been integral to Spain's successes over the past four years and believes that their progression to the final once more is justification of their style of play, which has been criticised at times this tournament.

Xavi told reporters: "You've got to enjoy playing in a final, but the main thing is that you win it. The thing that stays in people's minds after a tournament is the winner. Yes, we've already made history, but you have to do more and that means winning this tournament.

"You make history by winning finals and winning this one would mean a lot more because it would be a milestone that no one has achieved so far."

Regarding the criticism of Spain's style, Xavi believes that they should stick to their beliefs, even if events don't run to plan, before paying tribute to Italy's performance at Euro 2012.

He added: "I think football has been fair. It hasn't been easy. Our commitment to the way we play wasn't appreciated by many before, but it is clear that it is the right path for Spain - a path that we must stick to even if things don't go our way.

"Italy has always been a competitive opponent. Its style of play has changed a lot. It has a lot of players who want to get on the ball, packing out the midfield with a diamond formation. Pirlo dominates the midfield, with Balotelli and Cassano up front. The team doesn't play the Catenaccio system anymore, so the players are further forward."

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