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Football

Victorious Spain turn thoughts to Brazil 2014

Spanish goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas holds the trophy after winning the Euro 2012 football championships final match Spain vs Italy on July 1, 2012. (TOPSHOTS / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE)

KIEV: Triumphant Spain turned their thoughts towards qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and retaining their world title on Monday even as they were celebrating success at Euro 2012.

The Iberian nation became the first country to win back-to-back European championships with a World Cup in between when they thumped Italy 4-0 in Sunday's final in Kiev.

But such is their thirst for trophies that Vicente del Bosque's side are already looking ahead to September's opening Group I qualification match away to Georgia.

Spain have set new standards on their way to an unprecedented third straight major title for a European team and, with a relatively young squad, must be firm favorites to win their second World Cup in South America in two years' time.

At his post-match news conference at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday, the 61-year-old Del Bosque paid tribute to the work of his predecessor Luis Aragones, who engineered Spain's victory at Euro 2008 before stepping down.

"We have followed the path laid out by Aragones and now we have new goals," Del Bosque said.

"France, Belarus, Georgia and Finland in World Cup qualification and then the Confederations Cup," he added, in reference to the World Cup curtain-raiser in Brazil next year. "We want to put on a good show there."

His success at Euro 2012 means Del Bosque becomes only the second coach to win a European Championship and a World Cup title, joining Helmut Schoen, who achieved the feat with West Germany in the early 1970s.

A key player in Spain's success under Del Bosque is Xavi and the Barcelona playmaker came good in the final with two assists and a typically dominant display after an indifferent tournament.

Xavi, who will be 34 by the 2014 World Cup, said he would be available for the tournament in Brazil if he was in good shape.

"If I am feeling good I will be there," he told reporters after the final. "I will talk to the coach but basically yes. Let's see."

Any team wishing to challenge Spain will have to work out how to breach their rock solid defenses while attempting to thwart their relentless attacks.

Spain have kept a clean sheet in their last 10 knockout matches at the European Championship or World Cup and Casillas has not conceded in an unprecedented 990 minutes.

 

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