Villa Pins Hope on Torres
The Spanish team is bracing for their toughest encounter in the world cup; a pre-quarterfinal clash with Portugal and the mood in the Spanish camp is upbeat with expectations, hope and determination as they aim to topple the 2006 semi-finalists.
The pre-tournament favourites had a shocking start to their campaign in Group H, when they lost to fellow Europeans Switzerland, and the defeat jeopardized their chances of making it to the round of 16.
However the European champions bounced back strongly to topple Honduras and Chile in their last two group matches to book a berth in the knock out stage of the most watched sporting spectacle in the world.
They are finalizing their strategy against the Portuguese team that nailed North Korea 7-0 in the biggest win of the tournament to date.
The man who has been the inspiration behind their success in the last two outings is front man David Villa, who scored arguably the goal of the tournament as the European champions roared back in the reckoning for the title.
Villa addressed a press conference in Cape Town on Monday, a day before the potentially explosive clash against Portugal.
Villa told the members of the media flocked in at the presser that his fellow striker Fernando Torres would be amongst goals soon and his appetite for goals is as big as ever.
Torres, who plays for Liverpool in the English Premier League, has endured a lean trot in the tournament so far, but Villa believes he will score when his country will need the most.
Torres was the star performer in Spain's Euro 2008 victory, and he will be eyeing the clash against the Portuguese as an ideal opportunity for rediscovering his Midas touch with the ball.
He has also been on the injury list, and was a doubtful starter for the tournament due to knee surgery almost on the eve of the first ever world cup to be staged in Africa.
Despite his barren run, his teammates have full confidence in his striking abilities and feel that he can turn the tables when ever he wants.
His biggest supporter remains Villa, who added during the presser that Torres fought back from injury by working doubly hard on his fitness.
He added that Torres’s lack of form was not a concern in the Spanish camp; the striker drew parallels with the European championship reminding the media men that the Liverpool striker had a goal drought at the start of the event, yet exploded into top gear towards the business end of the biggest football event in Europe.
Meanwhile preparations in both camps are in full swing, as the two European giants perched behind Brazil as number two and three in the world prepare to meet for the first time in a world cup match.
The winner of the match, set to be staged in Cape Town, will lock horns with the winner of the other pre quarter final on Tuesday between South Americans Paraguay and the last remaining Asian hope in the tournament, the high flying Japanese.
If either of the two survives then they would be playing the winner amongst, Argentina and Germany in the last four.
On the other hand the coach of the Spanish team Del Bosque brushed aside the question on his team’s plan of thwarting Cristiano Ronaldo, saying that his team’s rivals were a competent team and did not rely on Ronaldo alone.
"The most important thing is to focus our attention on the Portuguese team as a whole," he said. "They have proved in both defence and attack that they are a very complete side, concluded Del Bosque.