Spanish press relish 'vendetta' match against Italy


Fri, Jun 20, 2008 - Page 24

The Spanish press yesterday stepped up the pressure on Italy ahead of their Euro 2008 quarter-final, talking of a sporting “vendetta” in which Spain would take revenge for its 1994 World Cup exit.

“Luis Enrique calls for a vendetta,” headlined the sporting daily Marca.

Spanish midfielder Enrique had his nose broken by an elbow jab from Italian defender Mauro Tassotti in the quarter-final of the World Cup in the US, a match Spain lost 2-1.

The incident, which the referee said he never saw, and the images of Enrique in tears with blood on his face, he reportedly lost a pint of blood, left the whole of Spain in shock — Tassotti was to later be suspended for eight games which cost him his place in the World Cup final line-up.

This time “we will have the advantage because Tassotti will not be playing,” said Enrique, whose appeal for a “vendetta” was widely reported by the Spanish media yesterday.

“Spain will not forget that episode and can make amends by eliminating the world champions” in the quarter-final match in Vienna on Sunday, the ABC newspaper said.

Enrique, 38, hopes that Spain’s star striker David Villa, who like him is from the northwestern region of Asturias, will “take revenge for the elbow jab.”

Villa is the tournament’s top scorer so far, with four goals, including a hat-trick in the 4-1 defeat of Russia.

Tassotti, 48 and now an assistant coach at his beloved AC Milan, told Marca he was “tired” of talking about the incident, but said he had “never intended to hurt” Enrique.