Spain coach Vicente del Bosque admitted on Friday breaking the record for the longest unbeaten streak by a national team was a big motivation ahead of their clash with South Africa.
If Spain win Saturday’s Confederations Cup match here they will have posted 15 straight victories, overtaking the record of 14 held by Australia, Brazil and France.
A win or draw will also put the European champions alongside Brazil on a 35-match unbeaten run.
“It is important. Of course we are not constantly thinking of it but we have an opportunity to go down in history,” he said.
“If we win, our performances cannot be questioned, it would be a hard fact.
“You must remember that this unbeaten run has not just been against easy teams. It has also included the Euros where we had to face tough opponents, including England, Turkey and Belgium. We’ve indeed had strong opponents.”
Spain are unbeaten since November 2006 when they lost to Romania.
Despite the records being important to the players, Del Bosque suggested he could rotate his team on Saturday with Spain already assured of their place in the semi-finals.
“For us the important thing is the next match will give us the chance to go on with our winning streak,” he said.
“We have this momentum and we want it to continue. But if we ever had a chance to make some changes then this is the ideal situation, to give some a break and others a chance.
“But we must make sure we don’t weaken our team. We will have a strong team on Saturday as well.”
Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, number two to Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas but who could get a game on Saturday, echoed his coach’s comments.
“Once you are winning it is important to keep the momentum going,” he said.
“Both teams will try to win because we want to be first in the group. We have won so many matches and we want to continue winning, so we will be going for all three points.”
South Africa need at least a point to make sure they qualify from the group alongside Spain. Even if they lose they can still go through if Iraq fail to beat New Zealand on the same day.
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