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Euro 2008

29.06.2008 10:00

The Untouchables

Sandra Sarmiento

Barça’s style of play defines that of the Spanish national team. Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol are automatic choices in Luis Aragonés’ starting eleven which will play in tonight’s European Championships final.

“I approach every game with the idea ‘How can I cause problems for the opposition?’ We will attack more if we defend better”. These are the words of Josep Guardiola during his presentation as the new manager of FC Barcelona. It’s Barça’s style of play. The best way to defend is to keep the ball and move it around. It’s an ideology which players like Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol grew up on in La Masía and their performances in the Spanish shirt during the championships stand out as testimony to this style of play.

Iniesta: the most versatile

728128_w2.jpgNot having started in his best form, as a result of some food poisoning he had a few days before the first game against Russia, Iniesta has improved as the tournament has gone on. Luis Aragones asked him to play more on the right side but with the freedom to move into the centre if the game allowed. Last Thursday, he was named man of the match in the semi-final against Russia. Iniesta is the only Spanish player to have started all of Spain’s games.

Xavi: decisive goals

728202_w2.jpgXavi already scored some important goals for Barça last season and continues to do so for the Spanish national side. He paved the way to the final with the opening goal against Russia – the 500th goal in the history of the European Championships. The midfielder from Terrassa is the brains of Luis Aragones’ side. He is the fulcrum – everything moves through him.

Puyol: massive

727933_w2.jpgPuyol is having a great tournament. When the championships began there were a lot of doubts surrounding the Spanish defence but the Barça captain has shown that he arrived at Austria/Switzerland in great form. Puyol was one of the key figures in the quarter-final win over Italy. He marked Luca Toni out of the game and did the same to Arshavin against Russia. Tonight he faces a new challenge in the form of Klose and Podolski.
The Untouchables
La Masía: protagonist
Footballers like Cesc Fàbregas and Dani Güiza, who have come through the Barça ranks, have also made their mark in the tournament. Cesc has turned games around and scored the decisive penalty against Italy. The league’s top scorer has scored twice in the competition, while players like Sergio García, José Manuel Reina and Fernando Navarro have also contributed on the field of play.

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