Wenger: Spain have betrayed their philosophy

The Arsenal manager is sceptical of La Roja's attacking intent as Xavi's team-mates warm up to their final Euro 2012 clash with Italy
Arsene Wenger has said Spain are betraying their football philosophy by adopting a more cautious approach to ball retention at Euro 2012.

The Arsenal manager, 62, wrote in his column for Eurosport that Spain have "lost their sparkle" and find it harder to break down opposition defences amid concerns over Vicente del Bosque's striker-less formation - the solution to David Villa's injury absence.

"These guys are more than outstanding footballers; they are really intelligent and they are winners," Wenger wrote.

"I want to give them credit for that. However, they have betrayed their philosophy and turned it into something more negative. Originally they wanted possession in order to attack and win the game; now it seems to be first and foremost a way not to lose."

Addressing the issue of who Spain will select in attack against Italy on Sunday, Wenger said the poor performance of Alvaro Negredo in the semi-final led him to tip Cesc Fabregas as a starter.

"What should he do? I would be inclined to think that because he tried Alvaro Negredo up front in the last game, and it didn't work, he will start with Fabregas as a 'false nine'."