Del Bosque defends selection

Spain fielded no strikers in 1-1 draw with Italy

Vicente del Bosque: Insists that his decision to play with no strikers in the Group C clash with Italy was the right one

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Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque insisted his decision to play without a striker was the right one after Cesc Fabregas grabbed the equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Italy in Gdansk on Saturday.

Despite having the likes of Fernando Torres and Fernando Llorente at his disposal, Del Bosque opted to play effectively with six midfielders in the Group C opener; with Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Xavi all charged with roaming forward.

The experiment didn't immediately appear to work in a quiet opening period and things got even worse for the reigning world and European champions when Antonio Di Natale fired Italy in front on the hour mark.

However, Fabregas rescued a point for La Roja with an expertly-timed run and finish four minutes later.

Del Bosque did eventually bring a striker on in the form of Torres but the Chelsea forward endured a miserable 15 minutes, missing three gilt edged chances to claim all three points.

Speaking after the game Del Bosque defended his team selection and remains convinced it was the right decision.

"We wanted to have superiority in the midfield so that we could have possession and arrive higher up the pitch. David Silva, Cesc and Andres Iniesta arrived very well from the second line of attack and I think they did very well in a lot of moments," said the 61-year-old.

More chances

"The plan didn't go badly, Cesc did very well in this position. When Fernando Torres came on the match was much more open. We had more chances to score, but so did they and we can't forget that. Time will tell whether this is a good point or not.

"We have worked hard and put in a good effort. We are relatively satisfied with our work and the result.

"We knew Italy were going to press us high and they wanted to take the initiative. I had already warned that they are very dangerous and that has been the case."

Meanwhile, goalscorer Fabregas criticised the state of the Gdansk pitch, claiming that it disrupted Spain's slick passing game.

"I don't want to complain, but we deserve much more. It is lamentable that we have to play on a pitch like this," said the Barcelona midfielder.

"It has been a difficult match, the most difficult one we have in the group against a very strong rival.

"After going behind it is not a bad result. We are still dependent on ourselves. We have shown character and played well."