“We’d thought about tying Kroos’ feet,” jokes De la Fuente – “but I don’t know if UEFA would let me!”

On performances alone, this should probably be the EURO2024 final. A rampant la Roja side will clash with die Mannschaft in Stuttgart on Friday, desperate to progress to the final four – and Luis de la Fuente expressed that stopping Toni Kroos will be the key to Spanish success.

He was joined by Dani Carvajal during Thursday’s press conference, with the defender reflecting on Spain’s round-of-16 victory over Georgia.

What did Luis de la Fuente say?

Underestimating a German side of this calibre would be a mistake, suggested Luis de la Fuente as he addressed the media on Thursday.

“Germany respects us as much as we respect them. We will play a match on equal terms, it could be a final,” he explained, noting that Julian Nagelsmann’s side “always have a powerful start, so we’ll try to respond in the same way.”

“The best thing is to defend with a better attack. We are playing against an opponent with a similar ideology to ours. Whoever makes the fewest mistakes has the best chance of winning the game.”

While Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz have been highlighted as two of the most influential players for Germany this summer, De la Fuente expressed that “they are much more than these two,” and instead piled on the praise for Toni Kroos.

(Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

“Kroos is world class,” he said, “a footballer of a brutal level. Football doesn’t leave these players, they leave football. The confidence that he transmits has been very good for Germany. It is a pity that he wanted to leave football because I would love to continue watching him play.”

“We had thought about tying Kroos’ feet, but I don’t know if UEFA will let me,” he joked, continuing to explain that “we know what Kroos is like. We’ll try to make sure he doesn’t have a chance to receive easily and limit his passing options. We’ll appeal to UEFA to see if they’ll let us tie him down!”

But one factor that won’t have a significant impact on the match is Germany’s home advantage, insisted the 63-year-old manager. “At these levels, the home advantage does not have much influence. We are not going to be intimidated by a more hostile environment. Sometimes that factor works against the home team,” he quipped.

What did Dani Carvajal say?

Like his manager, Dani Carvajal expressed a desire to shackle Toni Kroos at the heart of the German midfield. The duo have played alongside each other extensively for Real Madrid, and while Kroos will hang up his boots following EURO2024, Carvajal is in no mood to give his former colleague an opportunity to bow out on a high.

“I have not spoken to him, I’m waiting for tomorrow,” he explained, adding that “as the coach said, I wish we could tie him down. It will be a very special game for him.”

(Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Despite appearing as one of the strongest sides in Germany this summer, Carvajal noted that it hasn’t been plain sailing for la Roja and highlighted the aftermath of Robin Le Normand’s own goal in their round-of-16 clash against Georgia as “the worst [minutes] of this European Championship.”

The 32-year-old insisted that his “teammates [are] very calm and very confident. We have to do the right things to win.”

Speaking on how la Roja have prepared for the very real possibility of a penalty shootout, Carvajal admitted that “there are players who are more specialised than others, but it’s the level of confidence that can define a shootout.”

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