Cesc Fabregas took his first ever penalty in a professional game against Italy in the Euro 2008 Quarter Final last night to put the Spanish through to a Semi with Russia at Euro 2008. A dour match where the Italians came with a defensive outlook meant that the scores were still 0-0 after extra time. Some penalty heroics from Iker Casillas meant that if Cesc scored their fifth penalty then Spain went through.
My heart was in my mouth when I saw him step up to take it, and I was very relieved when he scored. There must have been a lot of pressure on Cesc, especially as that was his first professional penalty.
He came on on 59 minutes for Xavi, as he has been coming off the bench for Spain during this competition, he showed his class and really added an extra dimension to Spain’s game.
He had this to say:
“It has been difficult for some people to have confidence in me when I play for Spain, but I know that life sometimes gives you the chance to prove yourself. People have been discussing my role in the team and my status as a substitute so scoring that goal meant a huge amount to me,”
“The boss came on to the pitch and gave the names out, I’ve always felt that he has faith in me, and he showed that by naming me number five which is normally the crucial penalty.
“I just wanted to shoot to score so that everything could come to an end. I wanted to make him think I would shoot to the left as I do in training and then I put it to the right. It was my first penalty in a match since I was 15.”
“I just want to help the team and if that means coming on in the last half hour that is fine, I don’t want the glory just for myself, I want it for Spain.”
Spain beat Russia 4-1 in their opening game, but Cesc knows it will be a different cup of tea this time round:
“If we think Russia will be the same as the opening match we will be very mistaken. We need to keep our feet on the ground if we want to join the teams that have won this tournament.”
Well done to him, I hope Spain go on to win Euro 2008, although the Russians look very dangerous, especially with Arshavin in the side. Maybe we can sign up Arshavin, but I rumours are he will be off to Barca.
Well played Cesc, whatever happens, I’m sure everyone will be happy to see you back at the Grove for the new season.