Sunday 15 June 2008

Cheerful Capdevila fits Spain role

David Villa is the man of the moment for Spain, there is no debate about that. But a little closer examination of Spain's two victories at UEFA EURO 2008™, which have taken them through to the quarter-finals as Group D winners, show Joan Capdevila in an extremely flattering light.

Creative defender
The Villarreal CF full-back is having a good tournament. During the 4-1 win against Russia on Tuesday, he played crucial and confident parts in Spain's first two goals while in the 2-1 defeat of Sweden tonight it was his long left-footed pass down the touchline which turned defence into attack and provided the platform for 'El Guaje' to do his stuff. Capdevila told "Part of the trick is that Luis Aragonés gives both [right-back] Sergio Ramos and me a certain liberty to push forward. We both like to get a shot or header on goal and we both appreciate the freedom we are allowed so long as we and the rest of the side make sure the back four is properly covered. Let's call my three moments 'almost assists'! I think Villa did the hard part today but I do love to create and score goals. You like to throw your extra little bit of work into the overall team effort and so far I'm absolutely delighted that things have come off. You have your days when that's not the case at all."

Cautious optimism
With six points in the bag, Spain could barely be more happy – although the loss of Carles Puyol to a foot injury remains a problem to be assessed and dealt with. Thus Cesc Fŕbregas, again a key contributor after entering the fray in the second half, and Capdevila both view surging optimism, euphoria and relaxation as their principal enemies. "The same sort of thing as this happened in the [FIFA] World Cup so my argument is that we have to be super-careful at the moment," Fŕbregas said. "This victory cost us but it also put us in a very strong position. Now we have to be thoughtful and careful in all that we say, and do and think. I'd prefer not to hear people talking about preferring Romania as [quarter-final] opponents. There are no good and bad teams in this tournament and it would be just as well for us to keep our focus."

Beaming from ear to ear, the 30-year-old Capdevila added: "The thing is that, in Spain, when we win a game of this importance and in this manner everyone at home will be talking as if we've won the tournament. It's always been like that and probably always will be. But for the players, we know that now it's time to put a lid on all that excitement and concentrate on getting back to high-quality hard work."