Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is setting his sight high for the forthcoming European Championship but stresses that not winning a third consecutive European crown cannot be considered a failure.
The Spanish side kick off their Euro 2016 campaign against the Czech Republic on June 13, looking to add to the titles they won in 2008 and 2012 in what has been a glorious epoch for the Spanish game, blotted only by their first round exit from the 2014 World Cup finals.
Hopes are high that Spain can make history with a third European title, but speaking to Diario Marca, Del Bosque sounded a note of caution.
“We are setting out with the highest objectives, which is to defend the title we won four years ago. However, there is a difference between what is an objective and what is an obligation,” he said.
Del Bosque explained that when the draw had been made for the Euro he had “looked around at the other 24 coaches and thought only one of the teams is going to win.”
He said the disappointment in the World Cup had not given the Spanish a dose of humility because “we never believe we are unbeatable or better than the rest. It wasn’t an issue of humility, it was a sporting question – we lost against sides which played better than we did,” although he added it was “important to learn the lessons from your defeat”.
He considers there are no easy games as football was becoming “more even all of the time”.
“There is less contrast and it is more global, so it is difficult for a side to appear and surprise you. It also means that any side which isn’t careful can have problems.”
“It’s not easy to say: Germany are the world champions, France have a great side and are playing at home, Italy is always competitive and there are also England, Belgian, Croatia and Poland, without forgetting that in tournaments like this it’s not unusual for one side that nobody expected to do well to spring a surprise,” concluded Del Bosque.