Spain sought to deflect talk of their billing as 2010 FIFA World Cup™ favourites ahead of their opener against Switzerland, insisting there were "no small teams" in the tournament.
Spanish football is riding the crest of a wave following Spain's UEFA EURO 2008 victory and the record-breaking achievements of Barcelona in 2009, and La Roja have been installed as joint favourites for the FIFA World Cup along with Brazil.
But captain Iker Casillas said that narrow scorelines and improved defences in FIFA World Cup games to date meant matches were boiling down to key individual moments.
"There's no one team here," said the Real Madrid goalkeeper. "Just look at Japan beating Cameroon, or Paraguay drawing with Italy. Those games came down to one specific moment, so there are no small opponents. The smaller teams are growing and growing.
"We have to be ready for anything. Switzerland can be as difficult an opponent as anyone. We have been declared favourites and we will try to deliver our best for the match. Everyone likes playing against Spain, so they'll be at their very best."
There are no small opponents. The smaller teams are growing and growing.
Casillas added that the man who coached Spain to Euro glory in 2008, Luis Aragones, was "100 percent totally different" from current coach Vicente Del Bosque, and warned that winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup would involve scrapping for the title.
"Del Bosque has added a new touch and brought in new ideas," said Casillas. "He's a very intelligent man who has kept the central bloc of players and added some finishing touches, slotting in five or six new players. Certainly, it's not easy to win the European Championships, but we want to play well, earn respect and hope we can put up a good fight and win it. It's not going to go without a fight."
Casillas, who will be appearing in his third FIFA World Cup, said that the Spain team had rightly been dubbed one of the best ever assembled. "I've been in the national set-up for 10 years," he said. "And when you see all these players brought together, it's such a fantastic team. Be it the ones on the pitch or the ones on the bench, it's one big family.
"Spanish football is harvesting the fruit of what was sown some time ago, seven or eight years ago, when Aragones turned to younger players. We now have outstanding players who play and star for teams all over the world. Players won six different titles with their clubs last year."
However, Casillas acknowledged that would count for little without a maiden FIFA World Cup trophy for Spain, who hold the distinction of being the only side to ever be ranked number one in the FIFA standings without winning the tournament. Their best placing remains fourth place in 1950.
"It may be a great team but if we don't win the World Cup, we won't have reached our objectives," said the Real Madrid star.