Spain will be wary of not repeating past mistakes when they face Paraguay on Saturday in Johannesburg's Ellis Park Stadium. Until two years ago, when the Spanish finally delivered on their undoubted promise by winning the European Championships, they had been known as the perennial chokers, or underachievers.
That perecption was finally disbanded two years ago in Vienna when they beat Germany 1-0 to lift the European title, and Spain came into this tournament as joint-favourites alongside Brazil. But not all lessons had been learned as the Iberians stumbled in their opening group match and were beaten 1-0 by Switzerland.
That seemed to focus minds, though, and the Spanish regrouped and rediscovered their form to move ominously into the last eight. But coach Vicente Del Bosque is determined his team should not fall back into the pitfalls that have tripped them up before and he is eager for his team to not take the South Americans lightly.
"We shall not underestimate Paraguay and prepare for them with great respect," he said. "They have very good defenders but also attackers. We must be fully focused to win that match. We know how difficult it is to be victorious, we can't take anything for granted. We must be hugely respectful of our next opponents."
Paraguay have conceded only one goal in this competition, in a 1-1 draw with then reigning champions Italy in their opening game. But they have only scored three times in regulation time, needing penalties to advance past Japan in their second round clash following a 0-0 stalemate.
It is their attacking play that is of concern to their Argentine boss Gerardo Martino, although he says his strikers are not to blame despite the fact they are yet to find the net. "One mustn't be too hard on our strikers," said the 47-year-old. "If they aren't scoring well maybe it's because the balls aren't arriving fast enough to them."
Martino also believes that his team has been hampered by their opponents' own lack of ambition, something he believes will not be a problem against the European champions. "I hope that our next opponents will allow us to play differently and it won't be simply down to us to dictate the game," he said. "Against Spain, we should have more space, because they play to win."