GNIEWINO, Poland: French football legend Zinedine Zidane said on Thursday there was nothing wrong with the tactics deployed by Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque at Euro 2012 despite growing criticism back in Spain.
Zidane, an advisor to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, said the criticism was ill-founded and that Spain, who topped Group C after coming through it unbeaten, remained favourites going into Sunday's quarter-final with France.
Del Bosque's tactic of not starting with a recognised striker, which he did in the opening 1-1 draw with Italy, has attracted criticism in some quarters but Zidane, who turns 40 on Saturday, was having none of it.
“One hears a lot said that Spain are not playing well or that they are playing without a straight No.9 or any other number of things, but they know very well where they are going and where they want to go,” Zidane told Spanish radio station Cope.
Zidane, who played under del Bosque at Real Madrid and scored a stunning goal in their Champions League final win over Bayer Leverkusen in 2002, said the world champions were clear favourites for the game.
France slipped up in their final match losing 2-0 to already eliminated Sweden which saw them end up second in the group to England and the intimidating propsect of playing the Spanish.
“For me, the favourite is Spain, but at the same time, a one-off match such as this anything can happen, that is the beauty of football,” said Zidane, who defied Spanish media predictions of being sent into early retirement by Spain in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals by scoring in the 3-1 victory over them.
“We all known that Spain are the favourites, not just for this match, but also for the Euro.”