Spain set for hostile Brazil
Vicente del Bosque (AFP)
Madrid - Spain are ready for a fiery reception in Brazil where they face an uphill struggle to defend their World Cup, coach Vicente del Bosque has said in an interview published on Monday.
Del Bosque, 63, said Spain will be entering hostile territory in Brazil, where they lost 3-0 to the hosts in the final of last year's Confederations Cup.
"In the Confederations Cup it is true that they whistled at us in the games," he told leading Spanish sports daily Marca in the Brazilian city of Curitiba.
"I think there was a lot of respect in that, in that they saw a potential enemy for Brazil," the coach said, stressing that outside of the games Brazilians had been friendly to the squad.
With Brazilian-born Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa controversially in the Spain squad, Brazil's stadiums risk being even less welcoming than last year.
And as Spain gear up for their opening game Friday against the Netherlands in a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final, Del Bosque said the challenge of defending the Cup will be huge.
"Obviously it is not impossible but the normal thing would be not to win the World Cup. We have to understand the potential of the rivals we face, that the world doesn't revolve around us. But our goal and dream has to be to win it, to believe in it."Spain can adapt their game, he stressed.
"We don't have a magic formula, we have an idea starting with the players we rely on," Del Bosque said.
"We are not Taliban of one style of play. Possession without depth has no sense. That's why we work on being a team that's aggressive in recovering the ball, compact, putting on pressure."
Asked if Spain are ready for teams to withdraw into defensive positions, he said: "I hope it will be like that. for us it is better to have to be patient and try to open up defensive positions than open, out-of-control games."
Del Bosque refused to tag Spain as favourites.
"A World Cup is too big for those labels. Brazil are obviously playing at home and they're a great team but that also means they are under great pressure, much more than in the Confederations Cup," he said.
Other major rivals will include Germany who for years have been so close to winning, Argentina with Lionel Messi, Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo, France and a host other nations making fewer headlines including England, Uruguay and Belgium.