Russia is better conditioned team than Spain: Arbeloa

June 24th, 2008 - 11:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Neustift (Austria), June 24 (IANS) Russian were “a bit” better conditioned than the other teams in the Euro 2008, Spanish defender Alvaro Arbeloa, whose team will face the Russians Wednesday night in the semi-finals, said here Tuesday. In a press conference, the Spanish defender said the Spanish team were focusing on their concentration after defeating Italy in the quarterfinals, EFE news agency reported.

Spain won Sunday’s quarterfinal match in Vienna by outgunning Italy 4-2 in a penalty shootout after the teams ended regulation and two 15-minute overtime periods in a scoreless draw.

Russia, which the Spaniards routed 4-1 in their first match of the tournament, are the best team physically of the four left, the Spanish defender said.

“In the first match, we saw, despite beating them, that they are pretty dangerous. With Luis, obviously, we study the rival, but we are more concerned about our own team,” Arbeloa said, referring to Spanish national soccer team coach Luis Aragones.

“We are going to have to be pretty good to beat them because, physically they are just a bit above the rest and have lots of confidence. It’ll be important to start by scoring,” the defender said.

Arbeloa praised the saves made by goalie Iker Casillas against Italy, but he lauded the group effort instead of individual performances.

“This is a team and that’s the most important thing. It’s true that (David) Villa against Russia or Iker against Italy showed they are super players, but on Thursday it could be somebody else,” he said.

“There are high-quality players and many times their sparkle wins matches, but you don’t have to put anybody above the group,” Arbeloa added.

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