Vicente del Bosque has urged his team to forget the past as Spain prepares to defend its World Cup crown in Brazil in 2014.
La Roja has returned to Johannesburg, the scene of its 2010 success, as it prepares to take on South Africa in a friendly on Tuesday, but their coach has advised his team to resist the urge to become complacent.
“I’m not nostalgic about the past,” he said in a press conference. “We can’t stop to think about what has already happened. We now have to look to the future. Since the World Cup we have continued to grow. There is an element of continuity about our play, and we want to defend the title we won here in Brazil next summer.
“I consider myself lucky to be in the most successful period of Spanish football in its history, but that does not mean I’m the best coach."
But for all of his desperation to focus on the future, Del Bosque admitted he was happy to be reacquainted with the passionate African support.
“It’s nice to be back in South Africa, though. The people here are very affectionate," he said. “Even after we lost to Switzerland [in the first game of the World Cup], the employees at the hotel were waiting up until three in the morning to greet us.
“That’s what I remember most.”
Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal in extra time of the 2010 final, and the Barcelona midfielder says he is looking forward to retracing his footsteps from that famous night.
“To say that all stadiums are the same for players just isn’t true,” he told Cuatro. “It’s going to be a special moment for me. This stadium is different for me. I can’t wait to go back on the pitch and relive a unique moment. I will take photos. I’ll go back to that spot where I scored. It was a privilege to be able to score that goal.
“Apart from the moment when Iker lifted the trophy, the thing I most remember is when I took my shirt off and showed the Dani Jarque message.”