Xavi warns of England threat
Spain star Xavi says England provide the biggest threat to his side in the World Cup finals in South Africa.
Last Updated: 30/05/10 12:26pm
Spain star Xavi says England provide the biggest threat to his side in this summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.
The Spanish go into the tournament as one of the favourites to take the crown on the back of their Euro 2008 triumph in Austria.
The likes of Brazil, Argentina and holders Italy are all in contention to make strong claims, but Barcelona man Xavi says the team offering most concern are England.
Xavi told the Daily Star: "People say that the strongest nation is Spain - but after us I really think it is England. Perhaps their goalkeepers aren't world class but apart from that you struggle to see a weakness.
"The World Cup isn't won on paper but after us I think England have the second-best team. It's not a surprise really when you consider so much of the England set-up is made of players from Manchester United and Chelsea."
England's last and only World Cup triumph came in 1966 and Fabio Capello is the man charged with guiding the country to glory.
Like Spain, the Three Lions have struggled to live up to their billing in pre-tournament expectations - however Xavi's team went some way to ending their barren run by being crowned European Champions.
But the next step for Vicente del Bosque's side would be take the world title from Italy's grasp, and the 30-year-old believes it is time the two respective squads stepped forward and took the major silverware.
Xavi added: "Over the last five years they have been the strongest teams in Europe alongside Barcelona, so with a nation full of their players it comes as no surprise they are so strong.
"There is Lionel Messi then a group of players behind him and Wayne Rooney is in that group. Rooney particularly impresses me. The spine of England's team is very strong.
"John Terry, Frank Lampard and Rooney are all among the best in their positions and in the world. Like Spain, England need to start believing that they can win a major tournament. If they do that with the players they have, they will be very dangerous.
"After so many years of hurt and disappointment you have to get the belief back, without it you won't win anything."