Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has a lot of good things to say about the three countries his team will face in the group stages of the World Cup.
“Without a doubt, we have a hard, difficult group,” Lopetegui told the federation’s website. “This is a World Cup. Portugal are a great team, Morocco have not lost a game in qualifying. Iran were the first team to qualify for the World Cup. They are going to demand the best of us.”
Spain will play their first game on June 15 against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.
“They are a good side,” Lopetegui said. “Portugal are the current European champions, they have players of a very high level. The past figures and results don’t serve us. What interests us is to play a great game and be able to beat them.”
“It’s a very deceptive and treacherous group,” he said. “Portugal have to accept that we are one of the favourites but if you look in a bit more detail, you can see it’s very difficult. Spain are naturally favourites, as I’ve always said.
“It’s not the first time I say this and I’m not saying it now because we are going to face them. I’ve always said they are one of the favorites to [win] the World Cup and Portugal have to do what they have to do, which is to try to win each game.”
Santos, at the helm of Portugal since 2014, said of the draw: “Portugal have to assume their part of responsibility and favoritism when it is placed in a group like this one.
“But the reality is that it’s very difficult because the fact that they consider us favorites to go through to the next round alongside Spain it’s not something that benefits us, on the contrary, it favors our rivals because it loads us with more responsibility.
“In one way, facing Spain in the first game could mark the way the group evolves and the rest of the tournament.”
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