Vicente del Bosque faces his first test in charge of the Euro 2008 winners when Spain take on Denmark in Copenhagen Wednesday, with “continuity” uppermost in his mind.
Del Bosque replaced 69-year-old Luis Aragones after the nation’s 1-0 defeat of Germany in the final of Euro 2008 in June.
“He wants to work and to keep things as they are,” said captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who played under del Bosque at Real.
“Guys, I’m not going to change anything,” del Bosque told the squad’s first training session in Madrid on Monday.
Having won two Champions League trophies and two Spanish league titles when he was in charge of Real Madrid, he has the credentials to gain the respect of the players.
The match against Denmark will launch Spain’s preparations for its 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins when they host Bosnia on September 6 followed by Armenia four days later.
Spain, who struggled to qualify for Euro 2008 after a disastrous start, will not want to repeat that scenario this time, in a qualifying group that also includes Estonia, Belgium and Turkey.
Del Bosque says he doesn’t feel the pressure.
Before Euro 2008, “people, my friends were saying it would be better for me if Spain doesn’t win, but they are wrong,” he wrote in Tuesday’s edition of the ABC newspaper.
“If we had lost again, there would have been an unbearable atmosphere, more doubts and differences. We might have been talking about revolution, and in football the best thing is continuity.”
But that doesn’t mean he won’t change anything.
He has used the absence through injury of some of the Euro 2008 players inject some new blood into the squad, including Seville’s attacking midfielder Diego Capel and Athletic Bilbao defenders Fernando Amorebieta and Andoni Iraola.
For Wednesday’s match, he is expected to keep the lineup that won Euro 2008, except for the injured Carlos Marchena.
And he can count on Valencia’s two Davids — Villa and Silva — who showed in the Supercup against Real Madrid on Sunday that they are still on form, as are Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez and Liverpool’s Fernando Torres.
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