x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Busquets aims to stifle the threat of Sneijder

Spain are focusing on stopping Wesley Sneijder, the Dutch playmaker, and Holland's dangerous attack in the World Cup final.

POTCHEFSTROOM // After stifling Germany, Spain are now focusing on stopping Wesley Sneijder, the Dutch playmaker, and Holland's dangerous attack in the World Cup final tomorrow. Keeping Sneijder in check is a job that will likely fall to Sergio Busquets, the Barcelona midfielder, at Soccer City in Johannesburg. "Sneijder is such a great player and he showed it this season with Inter Milan" who the Dutchman helped to win a historic treble of the Italian league, cup and Champions League, Busquets said yesterday. "To stop him we have to try and be one unit so that he doesn't even have a moment to think. We've already been able to do that with [Germany playmaker Mesut] Ozil and other good players."

Spain's defence has yet to concede a goal in their three knockout games in South Africa and made a dominant Germany attack look dormant in their 1-0 semi-final victory on Wednesday. "The other day we played our best game but I hope the best game is to come," Busquets said. "We shouldn't worry about Holland, but let's also hope we get all the luck of the world and things work out." Busquets does not expect the Dutch to sit back and defend, as Germany mostly did, against the European champions.

"Holland are going to play their football," Busquets said. "That's important, that everyone plays their own game and shows their cards." Busquets, 21, is one of the young players making an impact for Spain, showing fine form since replacing Marcos Senna in the squad. But Busquets sounded like the World Cup butterflies were still circling around his stomach. "I'm young and every day I feel much better, like I'm learning more from sharing these experiences with such great players," he said.

"I'm very happy with my play at this World Cup, but without the help of the team I wouldn't have been able to reach this level. Let's hope we can be as strong as Holland and emerge with the win." * AP