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Friday, June 25, 2010
Xavi glad Chile will attack Spain

Soccernet staff

Spain playmaker Xavi has welcomed the news that Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa is not willing to settle for a draw from Friday's crunch Group H encounter.

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Directing play for Spain and Barcelona, Xavi must be tired of the sight of packed defences. Switzerland sat deep and allowed Spain freedom to pass the ball in non-dangerous areas before shutting down their attacks in the final third and profiting from a rare counterattack to earn a 1-0 upset in their Group H opener.

And with a 100% record from their opening two games, group leaders Chile only need a point from the clash at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld stadium to finish top of the standings, meaning they could erect a similar brick wall against the pre-tournament favourites, who dominate possession in every match they play.

However, Bielsa has insisted he would be sticking to his attacking philosophy, believing it would be harder to go out looking for a draw than it would be to go out for the win. That has gone down well with Barcelona ace Xavi, whose side are fighting to avoid joining the growing list of big nations to tumble out of the tournament.

After losing one and winning one of their first two fixtures, Spain are currently level on three points with Switzerland, who will fancy their chances of beating bottom side Honduras in their final group game.

Asked about Bielsa's intention not to play for a draw, Xavi said: "This is good for Spain, we prefer to face a team that wants to win and this is what's been happening for the last few years with Bielsa. We're very happy to see they are going to attack, I think it's going to be a great game. We`re going to give it everything we`ve got and the plan is to get as far as possible in the World Cup.

"There is going to be a lot of pressure, the only thing that we're looking for is the victory. We have to play the way we normally play, circulate the ball and show our character on the pitch.''

Spain defender Sergio Ramos, whose side had lost just once in 48 matches prior to their shock defeat to Switzerland in their opening group match, is also anticipating an exciting encounter.

"We're expecting a great game which we will enjoy. I think Chile have some pretty fast players and they will not make things easy for us at all,'' he said. "We will have to try and play our style and take advantage of our chances in front of goal. We need to be optimistic and think that we are going to get through to the following round. We feel the support of the Spanish people and I hope we can make them happy.

"We are eagerly looking forward to the game. We know our opponents perfectly, we know their good points and their bad and we are in a good moment after the game the other day,'' added Ramos, whose team beat Chile 3-0 in a friendly match in Villarreal 18 months ago.

Should the European champions progress through to the second round they will face a massive early test as they will meet one of Brazil, Portugal or Ivory Coast.

Xavi insists they are not looking that far ahead though, saying: "Right now we are not thinking about anything other than (Friday's) game.''

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