Fernando Torres believes that this Spain team will be talked about for years to come if they beat Germany tomorrow – the only doubt is whether the Liverpool striker will start the match.
Torres has been in the starting XI for all of Spain's games bar the opener against Switzerland which the European champions lost 1-0. Since then the 26-year-old, who arrived in South Africa short of fitness following a knee operation in April, has been chosen to start by coach Vicente del Bosque but has yet to score or even look close to living up to his reputation.
The Torres question has dominated Spanish thoughts in the build-up to tomorrow's semi-final in Durban, with many keen for Cesc Fabregas to start after La Roja played with much more conviction once the Arsenal midfielder replaced Torres in the quarter-final against Paraguay.
Fabregas picked up a leg injury in training yesterday but will be fit to play after the the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said in a statement today: "The tests have ruled out any type of bone injury so the player could be available to play against Germany. He has not been ruled out for the game tomorrow."
That said, it may just persuade Del Bosque to keep faith with Torres, the man whose goal against the same opponents won the UEFA EURO 2008 final. Torres said: "No player is assured of a place in the starting XI. A player has to give 100 per cent in his fight for a place in the team. But if he isn't given the nod by the boss, then he has to cheer on the side from the sidelines.
"If I score against Germany and it takes us to the final that would be unbelievable. I hope history can be repeated but above all, that the team wins. We have done well in our last games against them but this German team is much better than the previous sides we have faced. They have proved to be one of the favourites in this tournament without a doubt."
Spain in fact have never reached even the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup™, though they did make a final group of four in 1950 which eventually determined the winner. Torres insisted that it was important the team did not believe their job is already done.
"I don't just settle for being in the semi-finals, I want more," he said. "Of course it's a success for us as this is the first time our nation has achieved this but we are aware that we may never get this chance again. We have the right to dream and to play a wonderful game against Germany. We want to make sure that people will still be talking about this Spain team in two years' time or even longer."