Spain will show no mercy against Ireland

Jun 14, 2012, 07:59 IST | PA Sport

Spain midfielder Jesus Navas warns Ireland that defending champions will show no mercy in tonight's Group C tie

Spain winger Jesus Navas has warned the Republic of Ireland the defending champions will attack from the off when the teams meet tonight.

The Spaniards were held to a 1-1 draw by Italy in their Euro 2012 Group C opener on Sunday and take on Giovanni Trapattoni’s men in Gdansk before ending the group stage against Croatia. “It’s going to be a difficult game, “ Navas said. “We have to get three points and we have to attack them from the start.”

Confident:  Spain’s Jesus Navas (second from left) dribbles past teammates during a training session yesterday. PIC/Getty Images

Navas, who plays his club football for Sevilla, does not believe the result against Italy will affect La Roja as they look to finish top of their pool.

“We have experience,” he said. “We cannot forget that we lost our opening game of the World Cup (a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in 2010) but then went on to win our remaining games and lift the trophy.

“There are still many points up for grabs.

“We know what we need to do and I believe we can do it.”

Navas came off the bench in the second half against Italy and put in a solid performance on the right.

The 26-year-old, a member of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad, hopes to leave his mark in Poland and Ukraine. “I am eager to help the team by making an important contribution here,” he said.

“I will give everything I have to do well.”

Navas has come out in defence of Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque, who was criticised by the local media for his decision to play without a striker from the start against Italy.

Del Bosque fielded Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and David Silva in attack, leaving Fernando Torres, Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo on the bench.

The Spain manager suggested yesterday he might use the same tactic for the clash against Ireland.

“There are many opinions regarding his selection but I think the coach’s decision was a good one,” Navas said. “The coach always chooses a line-up to win a game and in this case, things went well for us.

“But we also have other alternatives.”

>> The reigning world and European champions have not missed a major finals tournament since the 1992 European Championship.
>> Ireland are making their first appearance in a European Championship finals since making their debut in the 1988 event in West Germany.
>> Sean St Ledger has scored three international goals for Ireland, including the header against Croatia. However, none of these goals resulted in a victory for the Irish.

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