Del Bosque: Spain will be in the firing line at Euro 2016

VicenteDelBosque - Cropped
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The national team manager insists that his side will be one of the most revered in the competition, but he accepts that Group D in France will be tough to progress from

Vicente del Bosque knows that Spain will head into the 2016 edition of the tournament with a target on their back as they seek to complete a historic hat-trick.

Del Bosque continued his, and Spain's, glorious era of dominance on the international stage when he guided them to a comprehensive 4-0 final win over Italy four years ago - Spain in the process becoming the first country to successfully defend the title, after Luis Aragones had masterminded their triumph in 2008.

A repeat performance in France this year would set them apart as the most successful nation in the competition's history with four titles.

And despite a disappointing World Cup showing in Brazil in 2014, where they exited the tournament at the group stage, the former Real Madrid boss still believes his team will be among the most revered sides in the tournament come June.

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"We're the champions of Europe, looking to defend our titles. That fact alone gives us greater responsibility; people will see us as a team starting out as one of the favourites," he told Omnisport.

Del Bosque's side have been pitted in Group D, alongside Croatia, the Czech Republic and Turkey - three opponents that the 65-year-old believes will provide stiff competition as he plots a path to the knockout stages.

"The Czech Republic and Turkey qualified from the same group and Croatia are a great team," he added. "They're very experienced and have had the same group of players for a long time.

"Their squad has a great unity that makes them a dangerous side. We can't take any of our opponents lightly - they all deserve our full attention."

Turning his thoughts to the teams that he expects to provide a threat to Spain's defence of the trophy, Del Bosque believes that tournament hosts France will pose one of the most serious challenges, and not just because of their home advantage.

Lending weight to the Spain coach's prediction, the last time the French hosted the European Championship - back in 1984 - they defeated Spain 2-0 in the final.

"I believe there are many teams that can win the competition - France, for example, are a threat," Del Bosque continued. "First of all because they're hosts, but also because of the ability within their team.

"Germany are very strong, although they have the added pressure of being World Cup winners. England are also a good team, and so are Italy.

"Then you have Portugal, you can't forget about them - they have [Cristiano] Ronaldo, who is the best player in Europe. There are a number of teams."