Spain’s Xavi targets Brazilian revenge: “why not in the final?”
The 34-year-old midfielder will be one of Spain’s most important players at this year’s World Cup and has admitted that he would like to play Brazil and get revenge fro defeat in the final of last year’s Confederations Cup.
Brazil ran out 3-0 winners that day and Xavi was asked why he thought there had been such a gulf in class between the two sides.
“My take is that we weren’t at the races physically. The semi-final against Italy, which went to extra-time, really took its toll on us, and scoring in the first minute allowed Brazil to shake off the pressure of playing at home. It was a game in which everything went against us and they got all the breaks. But credit where credit’s due: Brazil played better on the day. Nevertheless, the whole experience will stand us in good stead for the World Cup. Now we’ve had a taste of the weather and we know what we’ll be up against if we face Brazil. In my opinion, they did well to overcome the pressure of being the host nation.”
“Having the crowd on your side is always a good thing, but it can also be a double-edged sword. It can mean added pressure, which you have to handle. Brazil scored in the first minute and then in the last minute of the first half, which gives you a huge boost. I still remember David Luiz’s clearance from Pedro’s shot, which would have levelled the scores and changed the complexion of the match. But that’s not to take anything away from a superb Brazil performance: they pressed us, moved the ball around well and did a good job of nullifying us by closing us down. They stopped us from playing.”
With Brazil in Group A and Spain in Group B there is every possibility that the two could meet in the last 16.
“Here’s hoping! Or why not in the Final? Obviously anything could happen, considering it’s a World Cup and the difficult group we’ve been drawn in – and their group is no breeze either. But football always gives you the opportunity to get revenge. Here’s hoping it’s at the World Cup and at as late a stage as possible.”