Spain began UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 as favourites to make it five European titles in a row, but Wednesday's Group D opener against Croatia did not go as planned.
Having trailed twice in the first half, Spain then went 3-2 up, only to be denied victory by a 38th-minute equaliser. Sergio Lozano, two-goal hero of the Iberians' dramatic comeback to beat Russia in the 2012 final, spoke to UEFA.com about the low spirits in the camp; however, the FC Barcelona forward also vowed they would show their true selves on Sunday when a win against the Czech Republic would book a quarter-final slot.
UEFA.com: What are the emotions after the draw with Croatia?
Sergio Lozano: The squad is unhappy. Clearly it is a result we did not expect. We did not have a good game, but we didn't deserve to draw. That said, they used their strengths very well, with direct balls to the pivot and strong pressing in midfield. We did not know how to attack. In the end we drew, but this can be remedied by winning on Sunday.
UEFA.com: Is it always tough to be at your best in an opening game?
Lozano: I have played three major tournaments with Spain and the first game is always difficult. In the last [FIFA Futsal] World Cup we drew and in Croatia [UEFA Futsal EURO 2012] we had to go through a lot to defeat Slovenia. I hope it is normal and that we will improve during the tournament.
UEFA.com: But you had beaten Croatia 10-0 in qualifying ...
Lozano: We knew it would be a very different game. We didn't have the qualifying match in mind. We did not do things as we should have, but we must not take anything away from Croatia. We must analyse our errors and work to improve. If something characterises us, it is that we are a very competitive team.
UEFA.com: Is there big expectation on you to win yet another title?
Lozano: People may think this is an easy ride, but we are here and we know that a EURO is never easy. In all previous championships we have had a game where we struggled. We knew it was not going to be easy, and we are aware that there is a lot of work to do to win the title again.
UEFA.com: How will you correct things on Sunday?
Lozano: The team have to correct the mistakes we made against Croatia and try to be ourselves and be true to our philosophy. Against Croatia we were not and that meant a draw. On Sunday it will be a completely different game and we look forward to compensating for this bad first game. Let's go for the win.
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