De la Fuente says Spain received toughest draw for Euro 2024

By Sports Desk December 02, 2023

Spain boss Luis de la Fuente believes La Roja have received the toughest draw for the group stage of Euro 2024, having been handed games against Italy, Croatia and Albania.

As one of five teams with the best records across the qualification groups, Spain joined hosts Germany, as well as England, France, Portugal and Belgium in pot one for Saturday's draw in Hamburg.

That did not stop them being handed a tough set of opponents, however, with reigning champions Italy and 2022 World Cup bronze medallists Croatia joining La Roja and Albania in Group B.

Spain are the only team to win back-to-back editions of the Euros, triumphing in 2008 and 2012, and excluding penalty shoot-outs, they have only lost two of their last 22 matches at the Euros, winning 13 and drawing seven.

The only two teams to beat La Roja at the tournament during that time are Croatia and Italy, both of whom did so in 2016.

While De la Fuente says there is no such thing as a straightforward group, he believes Spain will face a particularly difficult challenge in Germany.

"The level is very high. All the groups are tough, complex, but ours may be the highest level," the Spain boss told reporters at Saturday's draw ceremony.

"There are other complicated ones, like France and the Netherlands [in Group D], but I think ours is the most complex. 

"We are playing in a European Championship, and we all know that the difficulty is at the maximum, including for teams playing against Spain.

"But that will make us concentrate from the first moment. We know perfectly how to play Italy and Croatia, and Albania are a very dangerous team. 

"Italy was not in the favourites' pot, but it was guaranteed that no one wanted them. Their potential is better than the moment they are going through." 

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