Wed, Sep 08, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Spain looking for showdown with Brazil

REUTERS , BUENOS AIRES

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner poses with Spain’s national soccer team jersey and players at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires on ­Monday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Spain want to pit their wits as World Cup winners against record five-times champions Brazil, captain Iker Casillas said on Monday.

“The team I haven’t had the chance to meet and would like to face are Brazil,” the goalkeeper told a news conference ahead of yesterday’s soccer friendly against Argentina at River Plate’s Monumental stadium.

“We would love to play a match with Brazil,” said Casillas, his face lighting up. “I think the last [meeting of the sides] dates back 12 years.”

Spain met twice world champions Argentina, Brazil’s arch rivals, as recently as last November in a friendly the home team won 2-1 in Madrid.

Casillas said his team could not afford to rest on their laurels as they faced a 2012 qualifying campaign where they are defending their European championship title.

He said friendlies like yesterday’s against Argentina were important for Spain to keep progressing, saying: “It’s the first time we’ve traveled so much for a friendly but it’s well worth it.”

Spain played their opening Euro qualifier in Liechtenstein on Friday, recording a 4-0 win, and flew about 15 hours to Buenos Aires on Saturday.

Coach Vicente del Bosque said: “The worst that could happen to us is to get comfortable and think ourselves kings of the world. Now we’ve finished with the objective of winning a World Cup and we’re preparing to validate our European title.”

Del Bosque said Spain are not the favorites.

“I think Argentina are in a position to be able to beat us,” said Del Bosque, whose side scored a stoppage-time equalizer to draw 1-1 in Mexico last month in their first match since lifting the World Cup.

Tacitly praising new coach Sergio Batista, whose first match was a 1-0 win in Dublin last month, he said: “From what I saw against Ireland they have that pause and possession in midfield and change of acceleration through the forwards to give their attacking game movement.”

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