Cazorla: Spain are not in decline

The 28-year-old playmaker laughed off suggestions that Spain’s dominance in international football is slipping amid claims the European champions’ are in decline

Santi Cazorla has refuted suggestions that Spain’s era of dominance on the international stage is coming to an end following Friday’s 1-1 draw with Finland.

Having dropped four points in World Cup qualifying so far, criticism has been levelled that Vicente Del Bosque’s charges have lost the spark which brought them three major tournament wins in a row.

However, speaking to reporters, Cazorla says discussions about Spain’s decline as a force in international football are pre-mature.

“It makes no sense at all to doubt this team after one draw,” he said. “You cannot talk about the end of an era, this team is still hungry, we still want to win trophies and you cannot talk of the end of an era.”

The European champions travel to Paris for a key fixture with group-leaders France on Tuesday, and the former Malaga star has highlighted the need for improvement.

“The problem is we now have less of a margin for error, but we always go out to win every game anyway. We know that we’ll have to play really well, against a team that is on a very good run of form.”

Meanwhile, the Arsenal playmaker also praised France forward Karim Benzema ahead of Tuesday’s clash, but concedes he is hoping the Frenchman’s barren spell in front of goal can continue.

Cazorla said: “He is a spectacular footballer. He has great qualities, it’s strange that he has gone so long without scoring [for France], but I hope he has another off day against us.”

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