GNIEWINO, Poland: Spain coach, Vicente Del Bosque, said on Wednesday that his title holders must be on their guard as they prepare to face France in Saturday's Euro 2012 quarter-final showdown.
The two countries met in the round of 16 at the 2006 World Cup, where the French were victorious; the event that marked the beginning of Spain’s unstoppable campaign to ascend to the world number one spot.
But with the French more or less back in the groove under Laurent Blanc after their mutinous 2010 World Cup, Del Bosque has warned that the Spanish must not count any chickens - indicating they had been guilty of doing so six years ago.
“I retain an image of the 2006 World Cup. We under-estimated the French as they were getting on.”
“It is a very Spanish trait not to pay attention to one's rivals,” Del Bosque told Onda Cero.
The Spanish were putting together a young and exciting team in 2006, under Coach Luis Aragones, and the home media promised that they would “send France into retirement.”
Though the Spanish would go on to win the Euro 2008 under the guidance of Aragones, that night didn’t seem to be their night, as they suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands Zinedine Zidane and company.
Del Bosque maintains that France were the strongest side in their own group, even though they lost to Sweden and qualified behind England.
“France were the most complicated opponents for us, the strongest in Group D. They have the ingredients of a strong team.”
“Technically they are strong and very organised.”
“I think they'll play like us - the French do not have any complex.”
Del Bosque said that the absence through suspension of defender Philippe Mexes “is an important loss, but France have the Arsenal boy (Laurent Koscielny), who is very good.”
Del Bosque also said that he did not intend to make major changes to his team for the match which will contest two nations who will also meet in the qualifying rounds for the 2014 World Cup.