‘Let the whole of Spain enjoy being in Euro final’

June 27th, 2008 - 12:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, June 27 (DPA) Spain captain Iker Casillas called on fans and players to enjoy the team’s place in the Euro 2008 final, 24 years after their last final appearance in a major tournament. “We are happy for the people who fill stadiums, who leave a lot of money at games, and this way we can pay them back,” the goalkeeper said.

On Thursday, Spain beat Russia 3-0 in the Euro semifinals to set up a final against Germany Sunday in Vienna.

“Let the whole country enjoy it. Let them be able to boast that they are in the final. We have to enjoy the moment,” Casillas said.

He called for the “utmost respect” for Germany and noted that Spain’s success is based in its defence.

“In defence we are doing very well. Let us hope that the team stays this solid,” he said.

The captain again backed coach Luis Aragones, who is set to retire from the national team after the Euro.

“Luis is incredible. We stand by the coach. We have been with him for four years, with good and bad moments. We have established a very good connection between players and coach. He is more than a father. We are delighted with him,” Casillas said.

“A lot of the credit for our place in the final lies with the coach. Now I understand why they call him ‘the wise man,’” he said, citing Aragones’s nickname, The Wise Man from Hortaleza.

Casillas refused to be overconfident, however.

“You can also lose finals,” he said. “We have to keep our feet on the ground.”

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta, man of the match against Russia, stressed that Spain players want to win Sunday’s game “whatever it takes.”

Xavi, who scored the first goal of the match in the 50th minute, looked forward to the final.

“We are still making history. We want to obtain the title. Germany is very strong. It will get there with an extra day to rest, and historically they are ahead of us. We have enough experience at the club level to play a great final,” Xavi said.

“We have to stick to the philosophy that has brought us to the final.”

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