AS Spain and Holland prepare for their World Cup clash this evening, influential midfielder Xavi has declared La Roja will never abandon the ‘tika taka’ style they have epitomised over the last six years.
“We’ll live or die by our style of play,” he defiantly said.
The match, a repeat of the 2010 final, is arguably the most mouthwatering of the entire group stages.
“ They have very fast attackers, so they’re very good at the counterattack, but also strong in defence,” added the Barcelona play-maker.
“But we have our own style of play. We’ve been playing that way for many years and we’ll try to impose our style on them.
“Our style of play is very clear. We want to dominate the game; keep possession. We’ve had this style for many years and had a great many successes, so I think it would be a mistake to change it.
“All of our players have adapted to it by now. We’re going to win or die with this style of play. We want to make history again with this style of play.”
Meanwhile, Netherlands boss Louis Van Gaal – soon to be take over at Manchester United – has launched a charm offensive on tonight’s opponents.
“Spanish football may well be the best football in the world at the moment,” he said.
“They have the tactics, the technique and the physical workrate to make them number one, and that’s what they are.
“We will have to play a compact game against them when they have possession, and that won’t be easy.”