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Spain, Croatia reject claims of Euro deal
15:49 AEST Sun Jun 17 2012

Reigning champions Spain on Saturday rejected all speculation that they and Croatia have agreed prematurely to a draw for their final group C match - a result that would push both nations into the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

"We want to win and finish first with seven points," Spain defender Raul Albiol told a press conference in Gniewino, where he called the concept of a pact "dumb" and "ridiculous".

The world and European champions said they are not taking the claim seriously as it was being speculated in Italian media.

"That is not coming from Italian players or team bosses," said Albiol.

Spanish head coach Vicente del Bosque refuted any idea of an agreement already after Spain's 4-0 victory over Ireland.

The situation in group C is quite precarious ahead of the Spain-Croatia and Italy-Ireland matches on Monday. Spain and Croatia both have four points while Italy have two points and Ireland are eliminated with zero points.

Should Spain and Croatia play to a 2-2 draw or higher then both teams will advance from the group regardless of by how much Italy would beat Ireland.

Italy were in a similar case eight years ago as a 2-2 draw between Sweden and Denmark saw both Scandinavian sides go through despite an Italian victory over Bulgaria at Euro 2004.

But Spain don't want to even have any speculation arise.

"We want to win," said Spain striker Alvaro Negredo, who predicted a 2-0 victory for Spain before the tournament in an internal pool with team-mates.

But neither player would likely have much impact on the result as neither reserve has yet to play in Spain's first two matches at Euro 2012.


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