(Sporting Alert) — Spain coach Vicente del Bosque believes successes in the last two major tournaments have forced pundits to label his side as the favourites to defend their European Championship title.
Spain, the reigning Euro and World champs, will face an improving French team in the quarter finals of the tournament tonight del Bosque wants his team to go out and create history.
“Everybody thinks we’re favourites because we won the EUROs four years ago and the World Cup two years ago,” said Del Bosque.
“But there’s also evidence that France have always been better in competitive fixtures so we’ll just have to see if we can change history.”
France were beaten in it’s final group match against Sweden which set the date with Spain.
Star striker Karim Benzema admits that he was hoping to face the Spanish in the finals and revealed that it will be a very difficult contest.
France, however, will buzz at being the last side to eliminate Spain from a major international tournament – when they did so at the 2006 World Cup – although French coach Laurent Blanc, thinks it’s a different looking side.
He’s prepared his side to handle Spain’s style of play.
Blanc said: “I usually say we have to adapt as little as possible to our opponents and play to our own strengths, but we’re coming up against Spain, who have a very specific playing style.
“You are forced to adapt but the problem is that Spain have the ball 65 or 70% of the time and they won’t give it back to you.”
Meanwhile, Fernando Torres was back on the bench for Spain and Cesc Fabregas replaced him, while Samir Nasri is on the bench for France.
Spain v France Starting Teams
Subs: Mandanda, Carrasso, Evra, Valbuena, Nasri, Matuidi, Ménez, Diarra, Martin, Ben Arfa, Giroud.
Subs: Valdés, Reina, Albiol, Martínez, Juanfran, Cazorla, Navas, Pedro Rodríguez, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente.