Spain are hungry for title
Potchefstroom - Midfield star Cesc Fabregas said on Sunday that Spain were "hungry for the title" as they prepare to launch their bid to win the World Cup for the first time in their history.
Cesc Fabregas (AFP)
"We are hungry for the title and we can show we are the best at this championships," said the Arsenal playmaker coveted by former club Barcelona and yet who struggles to get in the Spanish team such is their embarrassment of riches.
Spain, the reigning European champions, start their Group H campaign against Switzerland in Durban on Wednesday and Fabregas warned his countryman that "we are in a very competitive group, but we are keen to show that this is our moment and we are hungry to show that Spain can be the best."
"But we have to take things step by step," he cautioned at a press conference at Potchefstroom, south west of Johannesburg.
"Two years ago we won the European Championship and I recall that we were not being talked up but we took things a match at a time and stayed humble and I think we have to maintain this mentality," said the 23-year-old.
Fabregas recalled how in Germany four years ago the Spaniards were in effervescent form in the opening phase but then were caught out by France.
"Everything was going perfectly and then we had a poor game and they put us out - we have to learn from that," said Fabregas, who also recalled a shock Confederations Cup semi-final loss to the United States last year.
"Against the USA we rained shots in on goal and we have to be aware that this is how things can go even against a smaller rival. The luck factor can be fundamental."
Cesc, who at Euro 2008 had to play a supporting role to the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, said meanwhile he is fighting fit after missing much of the second half of the season with injury.
"The great thing is that I have not missed a session since the first day that the team got together - there are no problems and that's the best thing that could happen," said Fabregas, who insists he is not thinking about his club future despite persistent reports of Barcelona looking to prise him away from London.
"I am totally isolated and I am not thinking about anything beyond being at the World Cup and giving everything for the national side," he told reporters.
As regards holding down a starting place he added: "There are players of incredible quality in this team. We all have to keep on working and respecting the decisions of the coach, I have to compete with my companions and then when I get my chance seize it with both hands."
That is likely to occur as soon as Wednesday, given that Iniesta is fighting to get over a leg injury suffered in his country's final warm-up, a 6-0 rout of Poland, on Tuesday.
The Spanish Football Federation have said he is likely to miss the match against the Swiss but should be fit for further group games against Honduras and Chile.