Spain victory was fully deserved, says Fabregas

June 22, 2008

Cesc Fabregas started preparing for a Euro 2008 semi-final after helping Spain defy history and send Italy out on penalties at Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadium.

The Arsenal midfielder kept his cool to earn his country a 4-2 win on spot-kicks after the goalless draw, with Russia now standing between Luis Aragones' men and the final.

It was the first time they had beaten Italy in a competitive match since the 1920 Antwerp Olympics and also ended their run of penalty defeats on June 22, at the World Cups of 1986 and 2002 as well as Euro 96.

'It could have been any other penalty I had taken,' he said. 'From my point of view we deserved our win. This is for the fans who came here in such large numbers.'

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas was the other hero, saving from Daniele de Rossi and Antonio di Natale after the stalemate in the Austrian capital.

'I think we deserved it,' said the Real Madrid stopper. 'It was a very difficult game. It took a lot out us because it was so hot.

'To go out would have been harsh.'

Aragones felt his side were stifled by the world champions.

'We didn't play great football, nor did Italy,' said the Spain coach.

'We should have had more pace and didn't impose that but Italy could only beat us on high balls and we had a couple of chances that were quite clear.'

Aragones was confident in the shoot-out after Casillas had studied DVDs of Italy's penalty takers, and he now feels Spain have the momentum to go all the way.

'We want to go and win it,' he said. 'The group is convinced they will get to the final, then anything can happen. They came to win it if that was possible.'