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The influential midfielder admitted that La Roja struggled against Croatia, and added that they need hard work and good fortune if they are to succeed in Poland-Ukraine.

Xabi Alonso has stressed that it will be difficult for Spain to repeat its successes from the past four years at Euro 2012.

The title holder labored to a 1-0 win over Croatia on Monday to book its ticket for the quarterfinals as Group C winner, and the Real Madrid midfielder has insisted that La Roja need a combination of hard work and luck if they are to successfully defend their European Championship crown.

"If we want to repeat that [success], it'll definitely be another difficult task. We'll have to work hard, we'll need a bit of luck. This is how it is here, and let's hope we can combine those factors again," Alonso stated to reporters. "In football now, all the teams are well matched. We have achieved great things in the not-so-distant past, but we also struggled a lot, you cannot forget that.

"Clearly, the important thing was to advance as group winners. We knew it wasn't going to be easy because Croatia are a good team and had chances to go through as well."

Spain will meet the runner-up of Group D in the quarterfinals of the tournament, which will be played on Saturday June 23.

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