by Chris Bascombe
Asked if Spain are victims of their success, Iniesta said: “Yes, the team has this perception that we always have to win 2-0 or 3-0. We are still better than those previous years when because of one bad match we would be packing our suitcases and going home.
“When you are champions it is very difficult to get better but we hope to rise to the challenge and win this European Championship. It is hard to repeat the victory of 2008, all the opponents want to beat the world champions.
“All criticism deserves respect as long as it is constructive. Everybody feels they are a coach and that they have better ideas than the professionals. I would ask them to relax. All teams have difficult moments and Spain is no exception. We suffered throughout the Croatia match and we would have liked to have won 2-0 or 3-0.
“There were moments of quality but there were moments of doubt due to the context of the game knowing that one goal from Croatia could eliminate us. Now we have this match out of the way we can recover before Saturday and I have total confidence.”
Croatia midfielder Darijo Srna said Spain were unfairly favoured by referees and that they would need to improve to win the Euros.
“They play tik-tak-tik-tak but they created nothing,” he said. “They had one chance at the end which was maybe offside, and they scored the goal. Spain have to change the way the play if they want to win the Euros.”
Iniesta and manager Vicente Del Bosque dismissed the notion of a change in philosophy. “We should have faith in the style of play that has taken us this far and we have plenty of resources to deal with teams who concentrate on defending,” said Iniesta.
Del Bosque insisted his side will show their quality as the tournament progresses.
“Football is a permanent debate,” said Del Bosque. “People expect too much. A few years ago Spain was not well rated but now everyone expects everything. We have a stable squad and a stable style of play. We are not over-confident but we know we have the quality to win the Euros. If we had a bad match, Croatia had a worse one.
“No team is unbeatable and Spain is no different. There seems to be extreme pessimism and they go there from being wildly optimistic. The truth is in between.”