Madrid: Spain's coach, Vicente del Bosque, is looking ahead to his side' s European Championship last 16 tie against Italy, warning his side would face a rival that was complete in both defense and attack.
Spain' s surprise defeat to Croatia in their last group match means their route to the final has become more complicated, with 2012's beaten finalists their rivals for Monday night and a possible quarter-final tie against 2014 World Cup winners Germany if they beat the Italians, reports Xinhua.
Speaking to sports newspaper Diario AS on Thursday, Del Bosque refused to take it for granted Spain would face the Germans, who have to play Slovakia commenting that "no result was assured".
He then warned that Italy would be a complicated rival. "They are very good in defence, but they are also powerful in attack. They have great wingers and two good strikers," he said, adding that Italy was perhaps "more direct than in 2012", when Spain defeated them 4-0 in the final.
"There are changes over four years and some new faces have come in: it is the law of life," he said, although he admitted he was "moderately optimistic, as always".
When asked over his future as national team coach after the tournament, Del Bosque highlighted that after any major competition there were always changes in the dugouts of many national sides.
"We will see how many coaches who are currently at the Euros will be with their teams afterwards," said Del Bosque, who said he was satisfied with his side' s progress to date.
"We have won 9 out of 10 of our last competitive games, we qualified comfortably and we are in great condition. Just because we have lost a game (against Croatia) doesn' t mean we have to look for people to blame. We have to be responsible and discreet and I think I am able to ensure that happens," he concluded.