Confident Spain aims to oust world champions Italy

June 19th, 2008 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Neustift (Austria), June 19 (DPA) Confident Spain is after the scalp of the world champion at Euro 2008 after beating the European champion. Wednesday’s 2-1 over Greece was more for pride but the duel with Italy Sunday is a do-or-die match as the tournament has now reached the quarter-final stage.

“We will try to expose their weaknesses. I am convinced that we can reach the semi-finals,” said coach Luis Aragones after a light training session Thursday.

Spain is rated a perennial underachiever but the nation’s sports media was also upbeat Thursday that the team can make the final four at a big event for the first time since 1984 - when Spain was a Euro-finalist.

“We have beaten the European champion. Now we will get the world champion,” said the Marca sport daily. “We have the right to dream because we have left nothing to chance this time around,” the report said.

The victory Wednesday was the ninth in a row for Spain to match an 81-year-old record. Aragones could rested his stars as Spain was already assured of first place in the group ahead of the game.

Italy, by contrast, had to give it all it had Tuesday to stay alive with a 2-0 over France. To make things worse, Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso are suspended against Spain.

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