Skip to main content

Busquets bristles over Spain pitch excuse

When a reporter implied Spain's complaints about the slow pitch in Gdansk were designed to draw attention away from a disappointing performance, the normally serene midfielder used an example from basketball to illustrate his response.

"Do you understand or not?," he asked tersely. "It's not an excuse."

Spain struggled to get their slick passing game going against a well-organised Italy and coach Vicente del Bosque and his players said their request for the pitch to be watered had been rejected.

"It's the reality that it can help one team more than the other," Busquets said. "I'll give you an example if you like."

Playing on a heavy pitch that restricted Spain's passing game was like moving the three-point line in basketball further away so that the team with the better long-range shooters suffered, he said.

Polish FA chief Grzegorz Lato dismissed Spain's complaints on Monday and UEFA said there had been a clear intention to water the grass as much as possible but only up to the point before the additional watering could cause a damage.

"The same procedure is used for all matches in the tournament with a view to find a balance between protecting the pitch and meeting demands of the participating teams," the governing body said.

Busquets said it was up to UEFA to make sure pitches were suitable for entertaining, ball-playing sides like the Spanish and that he hoped for an improvement for Thursday's Group C match against Ireland at the same Gdansk venue.

"Our game is based on quick, one-touch passing and it was difficult to do that on a pitch that had not been watered," he said.

"Italy said they did not want it watered and that is to be respected but it is UEFA that needs to be in charge of the situation in terms of the spectacle.

"Hopefully, for the next match the pitch will favour us a bit more. It's the same for both teams but clearly it affects us more."