Spain midfielder Koke insists the fact his team head into the FIFA World Cup™ as holders does not mean they have any less hunger or desire to win the trophy.
Vicente del Bosque's side have won three successive major international tournaments and begin their campaign in Brazil against the Netherlands, who they beat four years ago in the World Cup final in Johannesburg. Many of the players in the Spain squad were involved in one or more of those successes but Koke, who is set for his first major tournament, believes the team are as ambitious as ever.
"Spain always have a winning mentality," the Atletico Madrid man told a press conference. "We have kept the same philosophy, which is to go out and play with the same style that has characterised us for so many years - that's how this group became winners."
Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez, a squad member in South Africa, believes there can be no doubt about Spain's desire.
He said: "Winning two consecutive World Cups is another motivation for us to try and win another World Cup. When you are champions of the world you have that bit of extra motivation. With Bayern I have experienced that pressure that comes with everyone wanting to beat the holders."
Pressure off in opener
Martinez also believes the fact Spain lost their first game in the 2010 World Cup - against Switzerland - but recovered to win the tournament takes some of pressure off the game with the Netherlands, even though he stressed that the team were desperate to start the tournament as they mean to go on.
"In 2010 we showed that if you lose the first game it's not all over, but we want to get off to a winning start," he said. "To win the tournament you have to win as many games as possible, but in the last World Cup we showed that even after losing the first game, we wanted to get to the final."
Koke's Atletico Madrid team-mate Diego Costa is expected to lead the attack against the Netherlands after recovering from a torn hamstring. The striker did not complete 90 minutes in last week's friendly with El Salvador, but Koke insists his team-mate is fit to face Louis van Gaal's side.
"Of course he's ready," he said. "I think everyone could see that in the game against El Salvador, he fulfilled everyone's expectations. He was looking sharp, he could sprint, and in training he has been the same.
"I think he is 100 per cent fit, if he wasn't, he would have told the coach."