Andres Iniesta believes that Spain will benefit from facing an opponent as good as Italy in the next round of the Euros. Believing it can only serve as a boost to La Roja’s chances of winning the continental event.
Spain were shocked by Croatia, as they lost 2-1, finishing second in their group. Which set up a replay of the 2012 final against Italy. Spain emerged victorious in that encounter, winning 4-0 in Kiev.
Iniesta will not be intimidated by the prospect of coming up against Conte’s Italy, but is looking forward to the challenge.
“They’re a powerful rival, a difficult rival, and [it will be] a good game,” Iniesta said. “It’s a game that will be useful to us if we are to keep developing and taking steps in these Euros.
“Aside from the final four years ago, all of our games have been very closely fought out. Italy have excellent players and a great defensive block we’ve known about for a long time.
“Contrary to what I hear people saying, they also improved a great deal in terms of possession and ball-handling. They really stepped up, which makes the game on Monday even more complex and our aspirations even more difficult.
“This is how things went, we lost and now we’ve got to deal with Italy. We must face this situation with the appropriate confidence, because I believe that if we play at our level then we have some good chances of passing [into the next round].”
Iniesta conceded that Spain would have preferred to win their group, as they have landed in the stronger bottom half of the draw as a result, with Germany potentially awaiting in the quarter-finals.
“It hasn’t gone well, but we must continue, nothing has happened,” the Barcelona star added.
“We’re on the more complicated side [of the draw] in theory but we are Spain and we have to remain confident.”