Monday, July 12, 2010

Hatrick on wait for Spain

Former Liverpool playmaker Xabi Alonso believes Spain have what it takes to make history in two years' time.
The European champions collected their first World Cup thanks to an extra-time triumph over Netherlands at Soccer City on Sunday.
It was only the third occasion a European country had followed up one major tournament triumph with another, an achievement also completed by West Germany and France.
However, on neither of the other occasions did the triumphant team go on to complete a hat-trick.
The bookmakers feel the odds are better for Spain, who have already been installed as favourites to win Euro 2012, which will be co-hosted by Poland and the Ukraine.
And while Alonso accepts there is plenty of work ahead of his team-mates before then, the 28-year-old believes the raw talent is certainly there.
"Right now is not the time to think about the future, but of course the basics are there with this team," he said.
"The style is there, the mentality is there and the team spirit is there.
"If we keep working in this way many more big things may come."
Whether Cesc Fabregas is still at Arsenal by then is to be seen.
Throughout his time in South Africa, Fabregas has been at the centre of speculation regarding a potential move to Barcelona.
After finally making an impact at the World Cup following a frustrating tournament when he struggled for form and fitness after breaking a shin on club duty at the end of last season, Fabregas appeared to offer a clue, before quickly correcting himself when the meaning of his words was pointed out.
"I am really proud to have been an Arsenal player," he said, clearly using the past tense.
As welded as he is to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, Fabregas is known to be frustrated at the lack of progress that has been made in five trophy-less years.
He has just spent the last five weeks sharing a dressing room with Barcelona's Gerard Pique, who has now won both the Champions League and the World Cup since quitting Manchester United and returning to the club he first joined as a junior.
With Arsenal starting pre-season training today, Wenger will be looking for some clarity, although for the moment Fabregas is happy to praise the London club's contribution to the most glorious day of his career.
"This is for the Arsenal players, the Arsenal fans, for the manager and all his staff," said Fabregas.
"I have had lots of texts and Blackberry messages. My phone is full.
"I had a text message of congratulations from Arsene Wenger. He said I deserve it. I just think this is for everyone at Arsenal who helped me get to where I am now."

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