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Xavi calls for `killer touch'
11/07/2010  by PA
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Xavi has admitted Spain need to find their killer touch if they are to win the World Cup tomorrow.

Although the Euro 2008 winners have responded well to their setback in the opening game against Switzerland by reeling off five wins on the trot, the goals have largely dried up.

Liverpool's Fernando Torres was axed for the semi-final win over Germany on Wednesday after failing to find the target at all in South Africa and three straight single-goal victories in the knockout phase do not hint at a team on top of their game.

Yet Spain are still at their bewitching best outside the box, where Xavi and Andres Iniesta have been toying with a succession of opponents, their latest victims being the German side who had impressed so much earlier in the competition.

But, as they prepare to face Holland at Soccer City, Xavi accepts Spain might have to do more.

"It is clear we have not scored many goals," said the 30-year-old.

"We are feeling very comfortable with the way we are playing, and we are creating plenty of opportunities.

"Usually when you do that, you tend to get goals.

"But we are not converting the chances to our normal percentage.

"Let's see if we can lift that because it will be particularly important."

Coach Vicente del Bosque gave nothing away about his intentions.

Yet Torres' replacement, Barcelona youngster Pedro, did well enough in Durban for Del Bosque to stick with him at the Liverpool man's expense.

It is going to be a tough call for the Spain coach, although the man most directly affected, five-goal front-man David Villa, is not concerned.

"It would be a great honour to play with either of them," said the Barcelona-bound forward.

"They are both spectacular players who would help me to do my work around the pitch.

"But the beauty of our squad is that we have so many people like that. It is a pleasure to play with them all, so I will just leave it for the coach to decide."

The dilemma over Torres and Pedro would appear to be Del Bosque's only selection poser, which means the best Cesc Fabregas can hope for is a spot on the bench alongside Pepe Reina.

Although neither side has won a World Cup, history hangs heavier for Spain. In becoming the first side to lose their opening game but still win the trophy, they would be adding a pleasant footnote to their achievement, which would give hope to beaten teams in the future.

Far more importantly, Spain would also become only the second side since West Germany in 1974 to win the World Cup straight after European Championship success, and only the third - France did it the other way round - to hold both titles at the same time.

Holland coach Bert van Marwijk goes into the final already knowing what it is like to be a world champion.

The Dutch coach won the world klaverjassen championship, a card game not unlike bridge, with his father back in 1973, the year before Johan Cruyff and co. showed the planet what 'Total Football' was all about by reaching their first World Cup final.

Now Van Marwijk hopes to make history by collecting a rather more high-profile title when his side meet Spain at Soccer City with both nations bidding for their first World Cup triumph.

"It was good fun," said Van Marwijk when reminded of his card skills before going on to put the match in perspective.

"It's unbelievable, the most important match in my football life. It is quite something and this applies to all my players. No Dutch player has ever become world champion and that is extraordinary but we approach it as a special match."

Van Marwijk has no injury problems with Wesley Sneijder and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg both shrugging off minor problems.

Van Marwijk insists they are ready and confident to take on a Spain side who were impressive in beating Germany 1-0 in the semi-final.

Most importantly the Dutch, he said, must be brave in a match between teams with the desire to play attractive football.

"They have to be themselves and have to have the courage to play football against Spain," said Van Marwijk.

"They are two of the best teams and I emphasise the word 'team'.

"We beat Brazil and Spain beat Germany. Spain have played more attractive football than we have but the teams have the intention to play in the same way. Both teams have their own style but they resemble each other.

"I'm not going to tell you how I'm going to play. We just have to be ourselves."

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