No easing off for Spain when Northern Ireland visit

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MADRID, Nov 19 (Reuters) Midfielder Cesc Fabregas has warned Spain will not ease off against Northern Ireland on Wednesday despite having already qualified for Euro 2008.

Luis Aragones's side were impressive in beating Sweden 3-0 in Group F at the Bernabeu on Saturday to make sure of their place in Austria and Switzerland next June.

Northern Ireland are three points behind second-placed Sweden and have to win and hope the Swedes lose at home to Latvia to sneak into the second qualification spot.

''We all want to win and in particular because of the way we we lost over there,'' the Arsenal player told a news conference today.

''I don't know if revenge is the word, but we want to win in order to finish the group phase well, especially after what we have been through. We have the chance to finish top.'' Spain's shock 3-2 defeat in Belfast last September, followed by the 2-0 setback in Sweden were the low points of their campaign.

But they have only dropped two points since then in the 1-1 draw away to Iceland in September, and are riding a fresh wave of optimism after their convincing victories over Denmark and Sweden.

''We are not even thinking about the finals as there is still a long way to go,'' Espanyol winger Albert Riera said.

''We need to go out against Northern Ireland and win and worry about what happens after that, later.

''We know how football works. We weren't that bad back then and we aren't that good now. The important thing is that there has been a progression.'' Coach Aragones is likely to give players who were substitutes on Saturday a run out in Las Palmas, which could see Real Mallorca striker Daniel Guiza handed his debut up front.

Atletico Madrid defenders Pablo Ibanez and Mariano Pernia are expected to come in at the back, with Valencia winger Joaquin and Villarreal's Marcos Senna given a run out in midfield.

Reuters AB RN2016

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