DONETSK, Ukraine (AFP)
Andres Iniesta believes Spain are only accused of playing boring
football because their opponents are too defensive, ahead of
Wednesday's Euro 2012 semi-final against Portugal.
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
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.
Lauded for breathing new life into the sport after their World
Cup triumph, Spain now face accusations of trying to strangle the
life out of the games they play in, but Iniesta says the
criticism does not concern him.
"Football is great in this respect," said the Barcelona
"Not everyone likes the same things and not everyone agrees on
everything. It's the diversity of opinion that makes it so
"We have our own style, which has brought us success and given us
two trophies. But all opinions are valid, and I respect them.
"The truth is that when you have a team that always attacks, and
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, and I think
Del Bosque echoed Iniesta's remarks.
"Of course we don't want to stagnate," said the Spain coach.
"We want to go forward, and winning two trophies is proof of our
qualities. We've got our own style. People might not like it, but
it's a style that brought us success. And people are always
looking for things to complain about."
Spain edged Portugal 1-0 in the round of 16 at the last World Cup
but Portugal exacted emphatic revenge with a 4-0 victory in the
sides' last meeting in a friendly in Lisbon in November 2010.
Paulo Bento's Portugal are expected to play on the counter-attack
in Wednesday's game at Donbass Arena, and Del Bosque boldly
claimed that such an approach would actually suit Spain.
"Of course I prefer it when the opposition play in their own half
of the pitch," he said at Tuesday's pre-match press conference.
"It's better for us if we can hold onto the ball and keep it in
their half as well. Portugal have great options and I would like
them to close their defence, because we know how to play against
Del Bosque was inevitably asked about Cristiano Ronaldo, whose
three goals in two games against the Netherlands and the Czech
Republic have taken Portugal to within sight of a second
appearance at a major final.
"Of course we have to take notice of Cristiano Ronaldo," said Del
"He's an excellent player and it's logical that there's been so
much talk about him. He plays in Spain as well, which is also a
"We saw him at the last World Cup and we knew how to stop him.
And that's what we'll try tomorrow (Wednesday)."