JOHANNESBURG - Spain are hoping misfiring
striker Fernando Torres can emulate the heroics of Italy's Paolo
Rossi at the 1982 World Cup and help the European champions to a
first triumph on football's biggest stage.
Like Torres in South Africa, who returned from knee surgery
days before the World Cup and has been overshadowed by four-goal
strike partner David Villa, Rossi failed to find the net in the
group stage at the 1982 tournament in Spain.
He then burst spectacularly into life with six goals - a
hat-trick against Brazil in the second round, two in the
semi-final against Poland and the opening goal in the 3-1 defeat
of West Germany in the final.
"That's not a bad example you have chosen," Del Bosque said
when asked about the comparison with Rossi at a news conference
at Ellis Park ahead of Spain's quarter-final against Paraguay on
"Hopefully it will pan out like that," he added.
Torres came on as a substitute in Spain's opening Group H
match, a surprise 1-0 loss to Switzerland, and has been deployed
from the start in a two-pronged attack with Villa in their three
Del Bosque replaced him with powerful forward Fernando
Llorente shortly after half time in the 1-0, last-16 win over
Portugal, a move that was seen as changing the game in Spain's
favour and helping them break down the Portuguese defence for
Cesc Fabregas, who has barely featured so far in South
Africa thanks to a Spain midfield packed with gifted players
like Xavi and Andres Iniesta, defended Torres at an earlier news
conference on Friday.
"I think (Torres) is accustomed to this kind of situation
because he has been under pressure ever since he was a little
boy," the Arsenal captain said.
"I think he is very much at ease and tomorrow he'll have a
chance to showcase his talents."
Fabregas said he was concentrating on staying focused and
waiting for his chance.
"The important thing is to motivate yourself and believe you
will make it on to the pitch.
"You have to be able to feel ready to contribute. If you are
not on the pitch then OK just celebrate with your team mates
and enjoy it."
The winners of Saturday's clash will play Argentina or
Germany for a place in the final on July 11.
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