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Roberto Martinez: Spain are better now than ever before
Posted Saturday, June 30, 2012 by The Sun

Roberto Martinez: Spain are better now than ever before
BORE WAR ... Martinez has hit back at critics who call Spain dull

ROBERTO MARTINEZ will not hear any criticism of Spain.

In fact, the Wigan boss believes that his home nation have a better team than the one which won Euro 2008.

The 2010 World Cup winners are attempting to win a third major competition in a row when they take on Italy in the final of Euro 2012 in Kiev tomorrow night.

But they have been branded BORING for the manner in which they have kept the ball without creating many chances.

Martinez simply laughs at the accusation.

He said: “The criticism shouldn’t be about Spain — it should be about the teams they play against.

“People don’t realise that it is all about stopping Spain. That’s a compliment to them.

“But if you look through history, the hardest habit in football is to win when you are expected to win.

“We have seen that with them over three tournaments. Once you get into a special status, the opposition can try anything they want to beat you.

“Whatever nation you are, you are allowed to have 11 players behind the ball, you are allowed to defend in your own box, you’re allowed to not create anything. And that is when Spain comes into a different level, by winning.”

The 0-0 draw against Portugal in the semi-final, which the Spanish won on penalties, was arguably the worst match of the tournament.

But Martinez reckons Spain were not in any danger.

He added: “Yes, in the semi-final, Portugal were a better side. But, even then, Spain never made the wrong decisions, they never left themselves exposed.

“They kept a fantastic shape and they gave themselves the chance to win. Portugal played as well as they can — and still lost.”

Undoubtedly, Spain had more of a cutting edge up front in 2008 and 2010 and now sometimes do not bother to field a recognised striker at all.

The injury to David Villa, which ruled him out of the tournament, and Fernando Torres’ lack of form has led to midfielder Cesc Fabregas being employed as the most advanced player on some occasions.

But Martinez added: “What you need to understand is that Spain has got a real strong philosophy.

“That philosophy is how they keep the ball. How they are patient, how they play from the back and expose teams, how they defend.

“They are not worse than 2008, they are better. It was easier to beat them in 2008. They are mature, they don’t get exposed.”

    Rank Team W/D/L Pts

    Cities & Stadiums

    The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments

    Year Winners Runner-up Third place
    2008SpainGermanyRussia / Turkey
    2004GreecePortugalNetherlands / Czech Republic
    2000FranceItalyNetherlands / Portugal
    1996GermanyCzech RepublicFrance / England
    1992DenmarkGermanyNetherlands / Sweden
    1988NetherlandsSoviet UnionItaly / West Germany
    1984FranceSpainDenmark / Portugal
    1980West GermanyBelgiumCzechoslovakia
    1976CzechoslovakiaWest GermanyNetherlands
    1972West GermanySoviet UnionBelgium
    1964SpainSoviet UnionHungary
    1960Soviet UnionYugoslaviaCzechoslovakia