thumbnail Hello,

The Real Madrid legend feels that the Barcelona man could destroy their chances of reaching the last four of the European Championship, and tips Spain to win the upcoming clash

Former Real Madrid star Zinedine Zidane has warned France that they must stop Spain playmaker Andres Iniesta if they are to progress to the semi-finals of Euro 2012.

Les Bleus suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat against already-eliminated Sweden on Tuesday to finish second in Group D and set up a mouth-watering clash with Vicente del Bosque's much-fancied outfit in Donetsk on Saturday evening.

And Zidane, who won the tournament with France in 2000, feels that the Barcelona midfielder's influence could be too much for his compatriots to cope with.
 Robin Bairner
 France Expert
The secret to France's success on Saturday will be preventing Spain from enjoying too much possession. For this to happen, they will need their holding midfielders to be on top form.

Laurent Blanc probably does not know yet who he'll select in this sector. Alou Diarra has been arguably his most outstanding player at Euro 2012 but a lack mobility may be shown up against Spain, while Yann M'Vila was the subject of criticism after his only start against Sweden. Yohan Cabaye must surely come in.

Whoever Black picks must stifle their creative players from influencing the match greatly.


"Iniesta is really impressing me," the 39-year-old told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope. "He's got so much influence in Spain's game. He reminds me of myself, but he is more pale than me!

"I guess the press are being too tough with Spain. For me, the team are playing well, but it's not easy when their rivals are tight in defence."

Zidane went on to back the world champions to reach the next round, and added that France's victory in the 2006 World Cup over the Spanish was motivated by a desire to silence critics in the media.

"Both Spain and France will need a good game to reach the semi-finals," he added. "My guess is for Spain, they are favourites.

"There is too much discussion over Spain's game, in 2006 we [France] got angry because of what the press were saying about us and we reached the final."

France and Spain kick off at 20:45CET on June 23.

Related

From the web