FOOTBALL: Cesc blames pitch for lacklustre show

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Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas hit out at the state of the pitch in Gdansk after the defending European champions were held to a 1-1 draw by Italy last night.

The Barcelona midfielder grabbed the equaliser for Vicente Del Bosque’s men shortly after Antonio Di Natale had put the Azzurri ahead after 61 minutes. Spain had late chances to win it, most notably through Fernando Torres, but Italy held on for a point in the Group C opener.

Fabregas, who was preferred to Torres in the starting line-up in a 4-6-0 formation, felt the slow pitch at the Arena Gdansk prevented Spain from playing their high-tempo passing game.

He said: “I don’t want to complain, but we deserve much more. It is lamentable that we have to play on a pitch like this. It has been a difficult match, the most difficult one we have in the group against a very strong rival.

“After going behind it is not a bad result. We are still dependent on ourselves. We have shown character and played well.”

Del Bosque was not displeased with his side’s performance. He said: “We have worked hard and put in a good effort. We are relatively satisfied with our work and the result.”

On the inclusion of Fabregas, the former Real Madrid boss said he had made the right call. “We wanted to have superiority in the midfield so that we could have possession and arrive higher up the pitch. David Silva, Cesc and Andres Iniesta arrived very well from the second line of attack and I think they did very well in a lot of moments.”

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli was disappointed his side allowed Spain back into the game just three minutes after Di Natale’s opener.

“What disappointed me about this evening was that we allowed them to equalise so quickly. We were playing against the world champions but we should have made it more difficult for them after we scored,” he said.