Fri, 29 Sep 2023

DOHA, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Spain defender Cesar Azpilicueta aims to be until the end of the World Cup and take Spain one step further than in last summer's European Championship, where the Spanish suffered a semifinal exit on penalties to Italy.

The 33-year-old Chelsea defender spoke to the press after Spain's training session on Saturday, and had no doubts about his intentions.

"The goal is to play seven games," he stated. "In the European Championship, we saw how some things are defined by details. Against Switzerland (whom Spain beat on penalties in the quarterfinals) and Italy we saw both sides of the coin. But we want to be here until the last day."

After winning the 2010 World Cup, Spain's last two appearances in the tournament have been disappointing, with an exit from the group stage in Brazil 2014, and a last-16 finish in Russia four years ago in the chaos following Julen Lopetegui's dismissal just days before kick-off.

"Winning the World Cup would mean a lot. It's the biggest international tournament. I also know how complicated it is and I saw that at my first World Cup in 2014," said the defender.

Despite representing Spain on 42 occasions, Azpilicueta admitted he was frustrated that he has not played as much as his consistent form for Chelsea, where he has won everything at the club level over the past 10 years.

"I have never been able to show my game for the national team as I have for Chelsea," he admitted, explaining that his desire to play his best football is the main reason for postponing his international retirement.

"I have been able to play more and show my true level since the Euro and now I have a fantastic opportunity at the World Cup," he concluded.

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