Spain goalkeeper Jose Reina last night warned his team of European champions could not afford to "live off the past" as they prepare for a make-or-break FIFA World Cup™ match against Honduras.
A defeat to Switzerland in their opening Group H match means Spain need a convincing performance - and certainly three points - when they take to the pitch at Ellis Park this evening. The shock loss on Wednesday was only their second in 49 matches and the side have received glowing plaudits for their fluid brand of attacking football, culminating in their fully-deserved triumph at UEFA Euro 2008.
But Liverpool number one Reina insisted their previous achievements meant nothing here in South Africa. He said: "This side has been playing for five years together, I think we've been doing things well and doing a good job but we can't live off our past - we have to prove again more than ever that we can be in that group of teams who can win the World Cup and we have to recover from that incident (the Switzerland defeat) the other day.
"After that game against Switzerland we just wanted to get straight out there again to show that we can do a good job and play some good football."
Much has been made of the struggles of some of the top European sides have had at these finals, but Spain defender Carles Puyol refused to accept the long domestic and European club campaigns most top players have to endure could be used as an excuse.
"We have had time now to recover and prepare for this World Cup but it is true that some of us have been playing very important matches right up to the end of the season," the Barcelona man said. "But it is no excuse and I'm sure the European sides will rise to the challenge again."
Andres Iniesta is Spain's only injury doubt because of a problem sustained late on against Switzerland, meaning coach Vicente Del Bosque considers Premier League stars Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas to be fully ready for action after injuries brought a premature end to their club seasons. Torres came on as a second-half substitute against the Swiss but Arsenal man Fabregas did not feature. Honduras are equally in need of three points after losing to Chile in their opening match.
Their coach Reinaldo Rueda said: "From my point of view the team has recovered from the Chile game, they are aware that every 72 hours you have to show your maturity, especially when the team you are facing is a great one."
Honduras defender Maynor Figueroa added: "In a short tournament like this you have no time to dwell on things, you have to pick yourselves up and I believe you will see a side very willing to take the three points."