Vicente del Bosque’s side are bidding to become the first team in history to claim three consecutive major international titles, having triumphed at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
Their ‘tika-taka’ passing style has earned endless plaudits during their four-year period of dominance, but La Roja have started to face criticism for the sterility of their possession-based game. Spain endured few awkward moments in their 2-0 quarter-final win over France, with a brace of Xabi Alonso goals book-ending a match largely devoid of goal-mouth incident.
Iniesta says the criticism does not concern him. “Not everyone likes the same things and not everyone agrees on everything. It’s the diversity of opinion that makes it so special. We have our own style, which has brought us success and given us two trophies. But all opinions are valid, and I respect them.
“When you attack against closed defences, that leave no space. Of course it’s not as attractive as an open match between two teams that want to win. But this is the style that has brought us success and it’s the style that we can identify with. Don’t forget, a few years back, this style changed the history of Spain forever,” he said.
‘Want to win for Roque’
Iniesta added that Spain will seek to honour the memory of Miki Roque by winning the tournament. Roque, who spent four years at Liverpool between 2005 and 2009, was diagnosed with pelvic cancer in March last year and died on Sunday at the age of 23. “We will be thinking of him (Miki) during the match. If we reach the final, I hope we can dedicate it to him and I hope we can dedicate the trophy to him as well.” Roque joined Real Betis in 2009.
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