Spain are contenders but not top favourites, says Xavi

Vienna, May 31 (DPA) Euro 2008 champions Spain are not the top title contenders to win the World Cup but have a chance to lift the trophy in South Africa, playmaker Xavi Hernandez said Monday.

‘We are a title candidate but not the favourite,’ Barcelona’s Xavi was quoted as saying by Austrian Press Agency APA said at Spain’s pre-World Cup training camp in Schruns, Austria.

‘We know that the World Cup could be our moment and that we get the title. But we have to be cautious. It was always our strength to enter the event with humility.’

Xavi said that the teams with more experience and past titles were the top favourites: France, Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Germany.

Spain has been an under-achiever at past World Cups, but is rated highly by football experts for the June 11-July 11 tournament in South Africa where it meets Switzerland, Honduras and Chile in group H.

Xavi was named the best player of the tournament as a classy Spain team won the Euro 2008 event in Austria and Switzerland.

Xavi and other players also said that Spain has no goalkeeper problem, with stalwart Iker Casillas of Real Madrid under pressure from in-form Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdez.