Xavi Hernandez has earlier claimed that Italy is Spain’s bogey team at Euro 2016 but Giorgio Chiellini has refuted the statements, arguing that it is in fact, the other way round.
Image: Giorgio Chiellini in action for Italy.
In Xavi’s comments, he says Italy adopts Barcelona’s style and a little bit of Atletico Madrid’s tactics. For these reasons, the former Barca star believes the Azzuri to be “the worst team” Spain could face at Euro 2016.
Chiellini insists La Roja’s recent successes make them favorites in the match.
“Spain have been our bogey team since 2008,” the defender he said at a Press conference on Friday.
“The beginning of their golden period coincided with their win over us in Vienna in 2008. It was only in Kiev that we weren’t able to give them a game, we hadn’t been able to recover from our game against Germany.
“In all the others we saw more balanced games decided by incidents. Twice we went out on penalties [2008 and the 2013 Confederations Cup]. Indeed, in Fortaleza in the Confederations Cup we deserved to win.
“That’s how the game will be on Monday, I see it being balanced where details can make all the difference. There’s mutual respect, and every game is beautiful.
“It’s a shame that it’s in the second round, but it’ll be challenging.
“I did an interview with UEFA before we came here, where I emphasized that defence was Italy’s strong point.
“We’ve been playing together for years, we don’t just do our job well but we give security to our teammates around us.
“We’re aware of that double job we have to do, and the responsibility we have toward others. There’s no defender in the world who can do well without the help of the other four.
“We know how hard it’ll be, but our strength is our humility. It led us to beating Belgium and Sweden, which represented a small surprise. No-one expected Italy.
“We’d been designated as sacrificial lambs, some even said we’d already be home by the 27th. Instead we’re here.
“Now we meet a team which has quality, which is almost unbeatable on paper, but I’m sure that with a prudent game and by putting our qualities on show we can do well.”