Iniesta still running the show at 32
By Steve Tongue
TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - If bookmakers introduced a bet on who would be named official man-of-the-match at tournaments, Andres Iniesta would be a short-priced favourite in every Spain match at Euro 2016.
Given that honour in the World Cup final of 2010, he is still going strong six years later, with more than 30 major trophies for club and country.
The 32-year-old midfielder was again named for the individual honours after Spain's 1-0 win over the Czech Republic in Group D on Monday, earned by his precise cross for Gerard Pique to head in a late winner.
As an integral part of the side who won the last two European Championships either side of that World Cup triumph, he now bears even more responsibility as the main midfield cog since Barcelona club mate Xavi Hernandez retired from international football.
Not that it appears to be taking any great toll, judging by Monday's performance.
"I always try to have high responsibility," he told reporters afterwards. "That's how I've always done it. It's all about a collective game and we all have to give that bit of ourselves."
After so many big games for Barcelona and Spain he was hardly going to be surprised that the Czechs defended in numbers and attempted to stop the quick passing through the middle that has opened up defences down the years.
"It's not the first time we've had that kind of game," Iniesta added in his understated way. "It means opponents have a lot of respect for the way we play. You have to be calm and keep going forward until you achieve what you want.
"They had chances, but that's the way we play. It's a question of patience. We had a tough first game but we're very happy to start with three points and we've taken a step forward."
(Reporting by Steve Tongue. Editing by Adrian Warner)