Del Bosque challenges Spain to make history

La Roja will aim to become the first team to win three successive major international tournaments when they launch their Euro 2012 title defence against Italy on Sunday
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has challenged his players to make history by winning Euro 2012 and becoming the first team to win three successive major international tournaments.

The Spaniards won their first international trophy in 44 years when they triumphed at Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, and followed that up with a maiden World Cup win in South Africa two years later.

Del Bosque's men will now attempt to make it an unprecedented hat-trick of international titles in Poland and Ukraine.

"We have an aim that no one has ever achieved before and that is beautiful," Del Bosque told reporters.

"We do have a lot of pressure because there is a lot of optimism that surrounds us.

"But we are well accustomed to the pressure because we are defending the title and we are world champions.

"However, we cannot think that we are out of this world and we are going to win. It would be a huge mistake to have that attitude."

11/4 Spain are 11/4 to win Euro 2012 with Paddy Power

Spain's potentially historic campaign will begin with a clash against Italy in Gdansk on Sunday and Del Bosque is under no illusions as to the difficulty of the task.

The Azzurri were eliminated by Spain at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2008 but the Italians came out top in their most recent encounter, a friendly in August 2011.

"Italy are a difficult team to face," Del Bosque added. "They play together and our last friendly against them is a valid reference.

"They haven't changed their style. I predict a difficult game because it is our first match and, on top of it, we face a team like Italy."