Spain boss urges exciting team to keep feet on the ground at Euro 2024

AFP , Tuesday 25 Jun 2024

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente told his team not to get carried away after they completed the group stage at Euro 2024 with a perfect record and not a single goal conceded.

Luis de la Fuente
Spain s head coach Luis de la Fuente speaks to his players during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group B football match between Albania and Spain at the Duesseldorf Arena in Duesseldorf on June 24, 2024. AFP

Monday's 1-0 win over Albania in Dusseldorf with a second-string side came after they started the competition by beating Croatia 3-0 and then defeated Italy 1-0.

Those results mean the three-time European champions are being seen as leading contenders to go all the way and win the title again, and optimism is growing back in Spain.

"It doesn't cost anything to dream, but we need to keep our feet on the ground," De la Fuente said after Monday's match, in which Barcelona's Ferran Torres scored the only goal in the 13th minute.

"Every game is so even, but again we got a clean sheet and we have nine points.

"We need to remain calm but of course we have been dreaming since the very beginning."

Spain's group-stage performance matches that of Italy at the last Euros three years ago, when they also took a maximum nine points and kept three clean sheets in the first round.

Italy went on to win the title.

"We still have room for improvement because we have exceptional players who can still offer more," said De la Fuente.

"We are not settling for what we have done. These players are really ambitious. We can improve in every aspect."

Spain will play a last-16 tie in Cologne on Sunday but will have to wait to find out which of the best third-place finishers from the group stage they will face.

Whoever it is, De la Fuente will bring back many of the players who were rested against Albania.

He made 10 changes to his starting line-up compared to the previous match against Italy, with only Aymeric Laporte keeping his place.

"Today we wanted first of all to win, of course. Then we wanted to give a chance to everyone.

"We wanted everyone to participate."

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