FC Barcelona’ s Spain international left back Jordi Alba commented on Sunday that the defending champions have the toughest group in the first round of the 2016 European Championships which kick off next Friday.
The Spanish have to progress from a group containing Croatia, Turkey and the Czech Republic if they are to have a chance of lifting a third consecutive European crown, although Alba believes they will have to hit the ground running.
“First of all we have to focus on our group, which I think is the most complicated in the tournament. I hope we will be able to make it to the next ground, but there are some very good sides in the competition,” he said in the daily Spanish press conference.
Alba looked back on Spain’s triumph in 2012, in which the Spanish started slowly but improved over the competition before defeating Italy 4-0 in the final.
“That was a brilliant competition for me, because I had only played three games for Spain beforehand. Vicente del Bosque showed confidence in me when nobody else did, so I have to thank him for what he did. He showed a lot of faith in me and it was wonderful,” said the defender.
Alba also remembered the 2014 World Cup when the Spanish, who travelled to Brazil as world Champions, crashed out in the first round.
“They are different competitions,” he said, explaining that in Brazil, “we were not at the level that people or we expected. That is history now and this is different. The players who are here are very optimistic and there is a different mentality. In football and in life you have to learn from the bad things,” he said.
Spain play their final preparation game on Tuesday when they take on Georgia in Getafe, just outside of Madrid.