Spain ready to get into stride: Fernando Torres
Spain, seeking their first major senior title since 1964 at Euro 2008, have only been joining up in dribs and drabs compared with many of their rivals but they will be ready for anything once the tournament starts, striker Fernando Torres has said. “We are the last to start (training camp) but I hope we will not be finishing last," said Liverpool forward Torres, who set the Premiership alight in his first season with 24 league goals, a record for a foreign star in his first campaign.
Yet the Spanish seem in no hurry to hit top gear in their preparations for matches against Group D rivals Greece, Russia and Sweden and spent Monday on medical administration and Tuesday light training regimes at their Las Rosas complex on the outskirts of Madrid.
While the likes of France have already hit their stride by embarking on a pre-tournament friendly series the Spanish will only start their programme on Saturday against Peru in the southern city of Huelva. On June 4 they will then play the United States in the northern city of Santander before heading out to Austria the following day. For a difficult to satisfy Spanish press "Spain are taking things rather calmly," in the words of El Pais daily broadsheet. But the players insist they are going to come to the boil just in time to shed their traditional underachievers' tag. "I am convinced one of these days we are going to win something and it could be this Euro," Spanish Federation sporting director and former longserving centre half Fernando Hierro said earlier this week, insisting that Spain were raring to forget all about their World Cup second round exit to France.
Yet midfielder Xabi Alonso exercised a note of caution, “We don't have a reason to declare ourselves favourites - other sides have shown themselves to be more effective,” he counselled.