Villa: Wins will put one foot in the finals

Spain will have one foot in the UEFA EURO 2012 finals if they win their Group I qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Lithuania this month, Barcelona striker David Villa said today. The FIFA World Cup™ winners will play the Czechs at home on Friday and travel to Lithuania four days later.

They are bidding to become the first team to retain the European title having won EURO 2008 and hope for a qualification similar to that of the FIFA World Cup finals when they won all ten matches.

"We have two very important matches coming up and if we win them we will have one foot in the next Euro tournament," Villa said. "The sooner we achieve our goal, the better. They are two complicated matches and we intend to win them both."

We have two very important matches coming up and if we win them we will have one foot in (UEFA EURO 2012).
David Villa, Spain forward

Sergio Ramos also believes the games can provide a platform for Spain to return to the form which saw them win the FIFA World Cup last summer.

Spain have struggled for consistency since the FIFA World Cup final against Holland, winning four out of seven games but also suffering big defeats against Argentina and Portugal in the process. "We have two big matches for the Euros and the goal is to get two wins for the team to regain the form of recent times," said the Real Madrid defender.

Spain have won their three opening Euro 2012 qualifiers but in friendlies they have been held to a draw by Mexico and lost 4-1 and 4-0 against Argentina and Portugal respectively. Ranked number one in the world rankings, they top their EURO 2012 qualifying Group I, three points ahead of the Czech Republic. They are currently the bookmakers' favourites to win the overall tournament.