Spain head coach Vicente Del Bosque is aware of the pressure on his side heading into Euro 2012.
The Spaniards are the defending world and European champions and are favourites to win the upcoming tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
But they have been drawn in Group C alongside Italy, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland, meaning they will have to be at their best in the early stages to avoid an embarrassing early exit.
“I think we have a lot of pressure,” Del Bosque said.
“We know that optimism is sometimes blown out of proportion. What is true is that there are 16 teams that will compete and it’s not going to be a walk in the park. We are used to pressure and will try to keep to our standards.
“We know that we are defending the title and that we are world champions and that we have a big responsibility on our shoulders.”
Spain play a friendly against China in Sevilla on Sunday and Del Bosque said midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury, is unlikely to play.
“He (Fabregas) had some tests done yesterday and the doctors saw that he’s doing very well and in the next few days he will start playing with the group,” he said.
“We don’t think that he’ll be ready for tomorrow but will be for the 10th I’m sure that we’ll be able to use him if we need to.”
Spanish defender Sergio Ramos is confident the team’s fitness staff will have them in prime condition for the tournament, despite the bulk of the squad having just finished a gruelling season with either Real Madrid or Barcelona.
“I think that everything is under control,” Ramos said.
“It is true that it has been a tough season with a lot of pressure where we’ve constantly played important matches and competitions like the cup, Champions League and La Liga.
“We played to win these competitions until the end and then came to play with the national team. There were a lot of trips and matches and that is something that the managers have to take into account. They know how to give us the proper rest in training sessions.”
Midfielder Xavi preferred to talk about his excitement ahead of Euro 2012 and said he feels ‘great’ ahead of the friendly.
“I’m doing very well,” Xavi said.
“I’m prepared to compete and to write history again with the national team so I’m very happy to be here and I feel great.”
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