Spain's defence of the world title they won in South Africa last year will begin in testing fashion after Saturday's Preliminary Draw for Brazil 2014 pitted La Roja against France in Group I. FIFA.com caught up with coach Vicente del Bosque and heard a phlegmatic response from the Spaniard, who warned it would be wrong to just focus on France in a section also containing Belarus, Georgia and Finland.
FIFA.com: What’s your reaction to the draw?
Vicente del Bosque: I’m not euphoric but I’m not sad either. We need to accept it because that’s the way fate wanted it, and we’ll live with the consequences. I think if I said it was a good or a bad draw, I’d be disrespecting our rivals in one way or another.
What was the first thing that went through your mind when you saw you had drawn France?
To be honest, nothing in particular. Obviously if you focus just on France, you’ll slip against another team and endanger your chances of qualifying. If you don’t prepare in the same way for Georgia or Finland, you could pay a high price.
It seems to be the case all over the world that there’s not much difference between teams now.
That’s even more the case in Europe. The teams that some people think are the easiest to beat have been getting some good results in the qualifiers for EURO 2012. So, as I’ve just said, we can’t underestimate anyone. What we need to do is to get better and study the other teams more.
How much of an impact will the order of the games have on the group?
It’s definitely going to be important because there’s a big difference between playing in Belarus in the summer and in the winter, and the same goes for Finland and Georgia. But we’re not going to moan about the weather, the pitches or anything not strictly football-related. We’re going to work hard to adapt to situations, just as we did when we went to Lithuania in this last qualifying competition.
How do you feel the draw went for the other major European teams?
The fact is I haven’t really analysed it yet. I didn’t see it live and I found out bit by bit so it wouldn’t be right for me to make a judgement right now.
Spain will be the favourites again. How do you feel about that?
We need to show whether or not we should be considered favourites in each game. We can’t waste time thinking about that and what we need to do is work hard for the start of the competition. That’s when our title defence will really get under way.