‘Spain are not anxious’

Vicente del Bosque has taken the pressure off of Spain ahead of facing France and determined that Xavi Hernandez will only play if fit.

 La Roja head out to France on Tuesday evening two points and a place behind World Cup qualification group I leaders Les Bleus, thanks to results on Friday, when Spain drew with Finland and France defeated Georgia.

Looking ahead to the test that awaits the Spanish, head Coach Del Bosque reflected both on the strength of the opposition, and the contrasting relaxed mindset he sees his players as in.

“France have a strong group, with physical players, but also others with speed and vision,” began the veteran today.

“They also have strong people in defence and two good full-backs. They are a great team.

“When we knew that we were in the same group, we knew they were a rival of maximum difficulty and in reality that has proven so.

“We too have quality and experience and hopefully we can win.

“We are not anxious. Against Finland we had a lot of possession, playing on the edge of their area all game and we did not win – that should concern us.

“We did what we had to, we were patient and opened up the field. The merit, for certain aspects, was for Finland.

“Now, the same match will not happen tomorrow. I hope it would be, because we’d probably end up winning the game…”

Del Bosque faced several questions on possible team selection, with Xabi Alonso and Xavi Hernandez back in contention after injury, and Alvaro Arbeloa under scrutiny.

“Against Finland we removed one central midfielder and opened up the field because we realised that our centre-backs were playing in midfield too.

“There is no need to play with two, but we have been successful playing with Busquets and Xabi Alonso, because they know how to defend and attack. Xabi Alonso is one of the leading goalscorers with Spain in recent times too, if I remember.

“Arbeloa? He has always done well in marking Ribery and I do not see why this will be different. We do not need to change him.

“Xavi? Nobody will be forced to play. He will do what is best medically. If we are told he is ready, he will play. There is still training to come.

“Xavi is one of those midfielders who does everything well.”

Tags Del Bosque France Spain Xavi