UEFA paid tribute to Spain's attacking style throughout Euro 2008 as it named midfielder Xavi Hernandez player of the tournament and selected nine other Spaniards to feature in the ideal European team.
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Victorious Spain's open, attacking play at Euro 2008 was hailed by UEFA on Monday with midfielder Xavi reserved for special praise.
Xavi was named player of the tournament while technically gifted Spain had nine players in the squad of the tournament selected by European soccer's governing body.
"We have chosen Xavi because we think he epitomises the Spanish style of play," Andy Roxburgh, the head of UEFA's technical delegation, told a news conference.
"He was extremely influential in the whole possession, passing, penetrating kind of game that Spain played."
Spain beat Germany 1-0 in Sunday's final with Fernando Torres scoring an exquisite first-half goal. Spain's victory was their first major tournament triumph in 44 years.
"The Spanish team haven't tried to be someone else. They have maintained their philosophy. They can keep the ball under immense pressure," Roxburgh added.
"To sum up Spanish football -- they carry the ball close to their hearts. They love the ball, they love working with the basics. Because they love the ball they don't like to give it away. They have personal talent and collective ability."
Luis Aragones's side dominated UEFA's squad of the tournament and Roxburgh said his delegation could have named more Spaniards.
"Clearly, there was a number of players that were outstanding," he added, naming Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas and defender Carles Puyol as especially impressive.
"The first comment our group made was that we should just pick the Spanish team. We could almost have put 13 or 14 Spanish players in here and not have blinked."
Squad of the tournament:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands).
Defenders: Jose Bosingwa (Portugal), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Carlos Marchena (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Carles Puyol (Spain), Yuri Zhirkov (Russia).
Midfielders: Hamit Altintop (Turkey), Luka Modric (Croatia), Marcos Senna (Spain), Xavi (Spain), Konstantin Zyryanov (Russia), Michael Ballack (Germany), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Lukas Podolski (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands).
Forwards: Andrei Arshavin (Russia), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Russia), Fernando Torres (Spain), David Villa (Spain).
Date created : 2008-06-30