Spain look to fill only gap in trophy cabinet

This month's Confederations Cup is far from the world's most prestigious tournament but Spain are eager to complete the set following World Cup and European Championship glory after being starved of success for years.

The Iberian nation became the first country to win back-to-back European crowns with a World Cup in between at Euro 2012 and players such as Xavi, Iker Casillas and Fernando Torres are still as hungry as ever for success.

Spain's Euro 2008 triumph ended 44 years of painful failure since their victory at the 1964 European Championship and they are bidding to win the Confederations Cup in Brazil at the second attempt after coming up short in South Africa in 2009.

Another success for 'La Roja' will also help lift a nation hobbled by economic stagnation and high unemployment where sport is one of the few bright spots on the daily news shows.

"It's a competition that Spain hasn't won and that's why we are approaching it with a lot of excitement about playing well and winning the trophy," midfielder Andres Iniesta, who scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final, said on Monday.

In coach Vicente del Bosque's first tournament in charge, Spain breezed through the group stage of the 2009 Confederations Cup - the warm-up tournament for the World Cup - beating New Zealand, Iraq and South Africa without conceding a goal.

A possible final against Brazil was looming but they were surprised 2-0 by United States in the semi-finals.

This time Spain have been drawn in Group B with Uruguay, Tahiti and Nigeria and they begin their campaign against Uruguay on June 16 in Recife. Group A is made up of hosts Brazil, Japan, Mexico and Italy.


Spain defender Sergio Ramos, one of 12 players in the current squad who has won the last two European Championships and the World Cup, said everyone was determined to fill the only gap in the nation's trophy cabinet.

"We have the great good fortune to have a fantastic team," Ramos told reporters as he met up with his team-mates in Madrid on Tuesday.

"This will be a new experience and a goal that we would like to achieve this summer."

Ramos said Spain's main objective was to reach the final where they would hopefully come up against Brazil at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on June 30.

"We are the two favourites but anything can happen," he said.

"You have to know how to lose and be prepared to know how to win. We will try to do things well, which is the key that has always brought us success."

Spain travel to the United States later on Tuesday and play friendlies against Haiti in Miami on Saturday and Ireland in New York three days later.