[QODLink]
Football

Don't count Spain out yet, says Cazorla

After a disappointing draw against Finland, Spain have got a fight on their hands against group leaders France.
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2013 15:49
Spain's Cazorla (C) is confident ahead of big clash although admits team needs more variation [EPA]

It is too early to start talking about the end of an era with Spain, midfielder Santi Cazorla said on Sunday ahead of the champions' trip to play Group I leaders France in a World Cup qualifier.

Consecutive home draws against Tuesday's hosts and surprisingly against basement team Finland last Friday have left Spain second in the standings, two points behind Didier Deschamps side with four games to play.

Anything less than a victory in Paris would leave Spain contemplating the play-offs for a backdoor route to the finals in Brazil. 

After exhilarating victories at Euro 2008, at the World Cup in 2010 and again at Euro 2012, questions have been asked if their cycle of success is coming to an end.

"Today in football any team can make life difficult for you. We still have the same hunger and, of course, you cannot talk about the end of an era"

Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla

"It makes no sense to doubt this team," Arsenal's Cazorla told a news conference at their training base just outside the Spanish capital on Sunday.

"Today in football any team can make life difficult for you. We still have the same hunger and, of course, you cannot talk about the end of an era."

Spain have lacked a cutting edge and struggled to turn their dominance into goals in their last two outings, as their possession game has looked slow and predictable at times.

On top of that, they have conceded late equalisers after some uncharacteristically sloppy defending.

"In the last game we lacked some things," Cazorla said.

"We need more variations, the team need to convert possession into chances.

"France will be different. I don't know if they are going to 'park a bus in front of the goal' (as Finland did).

"Recently they have proven they have the tools to be able to play in a different way."

France striker Karim Benzema, who plays in La Liga with Real Madrid, was booed by home fans at the Stade de France in their last game, a 3-1 win over Georgia, as he failed to find the net for an 11th consecutive game.

Asked what he thought of Benzema's barren spell, Cazorla replied: "He is a spectacular footballer. He has great ability and it is rare for him to go so long without scoring.

"I hope he doesn't have his day against us either."

404

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list