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Spain boss Luis Enrique: We’re in a group of favourites

Spain Training and Press Conference – Principality Stadium
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Spain boss Luis Enrique insists his side are not favourites in Group E as they prepare to get their European Championship campaign under way against Sweden.

Enrique’s squad is a far cry from the one which won the competition back-to-back in 2008 and 2012 but La Roja still boast some useful players.

Spain will also play Poland and Slovakia in the group phase and Enrique was pleased with the way his squad rounded off their tournament preparations in the friendly draw with Portugal this week.

“You can’t say we’re favourites – rather, we’re in a group of favourites, given what the national team have won despite our most recent tournament performances,” Enrique told uefa.com

“We need to show we are confident and I’ll be reinforcing this to the players, but when I look back at how we played against Portugal I’m even more motivated.

“We aren’t the tournament favourites either – the real favourites are the current champion. There are six or seven nations who can contend to be ‘other’ favourites and I’m happy if people reckon that we are in that group. I accept that pressure.”

On the challenge of facing Sweden in Seville on Monday, Enrique said: “They don’t have any player who might be regarded as a global star, but they stand out as a collective.

“We’ve played some games against them in the past and they had opportunities to hurt us. What’s new now is that it’ll be part of an official tournament, so I’m sure it’s going to be tough and I hope we can rise to the challenge.”

The two nations faced each other in the qualifying stages for Euro 2020, with Spain winning 3-0 in Madrid and drawing 1-1 in Solna as they topped the group ahead of Sweden.

Those games were enough to give Sweden boss Janne Andersson encouragement that they are capable of causing Spain problems.

“We still have the self-confidence from the Spain match and we feel we can beat them,” Andersson told uefa.com.

“Playing Spain away is one of the toughest challenges in the world of football today. It’s an exciting challenge and we need an absolute top performance, but we’ve had those in the past and I hope we can get another one.

“We know that if we can get everything to click, we absolutely have a chance.”