In two days, at this time, we’ll know whether it will be La Roja or Les Bleus that move on to the semis! Yeesh, I don’t think I’m ready for it, so it’s a good thing the boys keep talking of their confidence & readiness. Juanfran & Javi, two guys we don’t get to see much of, came out to talk to the press today, they brought adorable smiles with them.
There is talk that you may be able to enter the starting lineup in the next meetings, how do you feel?
Clearly, I would like to have more participation in the team and to help, but the coach is relying now on Alvaro Arbeloa and I respect that totally. I can only wait for my moment, I am a positive person and I think it may be forthcoming. I am prepared to help the team.
Do you think Karim Benzema would be a starter in the Spanish team? What do you think of France?
I’d stay with the forwards we have and not only those who are here, but also with those who have been unable to come.We have a great respect for France’s game and its history and tradition. It will be a tough game and we’re going to have to do things very well to beat them.
How do you remember the game against France in the 2006 World Cup? Is there a desire for revenge for what happened then?
I saw it at home and it was a very sad game for everyone. We got ahead on the scoreboard and then we rallied. Playing against France is always a high-flying game and we really wanted to win to reach the semifinals and to demonstrate that this selection is still hungry for victories.
How have you seen Alvaro Arbeloa in these three games?
Alvaro has been performing well, and has been throughout the year at Real Madrid and is a partner of mine whom I have great appreciation and I will always defend to death. He knows I’m with him, the whole team is with him and the coach has confidence in him and what others say should not matter.
How do you stop a player with the quality of Franck Ribery?
He’s of so much quality that at any moment he can have a scoring chance. We’ll have to be on top of him for the 90 minutes, hopefully it’s not his day and we know him and stop him to play on the offensive. They are a great team and have very good players.
“The atmosphere in the team is good. We are very confident, and we knew that we would have some difficult moments. Having won Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 makes things harder for us. Everyone wants to beat us. Although we had a complicated group stage, the team is fine and reinforced after these matches.”
“I think that France try to control the ball and have very quick attackers, so we will have to be alert at the back. The key will be to try to have the ball. We will have to take the ball away from them. France’s situation is similar to our own because, because both teams played better in the first two group matches than in the third game. “I am sure they have overcome what happened against Sweden and that they will be very motivated against us.”
On possible Liga signings – “All of us here have our personal things, but we must think only of the national team because if not, this will not come to fruition. It’s easy to focus only on the selection because we have a nice goal and are motivated. ”
On Fernando Llorente – “For Fernando I see it as good, we all want to play, as all players do. And above all Fernando, who enjoys playing, is still training hard to be prepared as in South Africa in the WC quarterfinals against Portugal, which was important to break the Portuguese. ”
On playing with Iniesta & his role in the NT – “I enjoy playing alongside Iniesta, a real superstar and I learn a lot in the practices and games. Everyone knows what their role is and tries to be prepared. The twenty minutes I played against Ireland were a gift. Being among these twenty-three players chosen is already a big thing for me. ”