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Published: Monday 4 June 2012, 15.23CET
Defending champions Spain will attempt to become the first team to win three major tournaments in succession as they head to Poland and Ukraine following a perfect qualifying campaign.

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Published: Monday 4 June 2012, 15.23CET


Defending champions Spain will attempt to become the first team to win three major tournaments in succession as they head to Poland and Ukraine following a perfect qualifying campaign.

Best EURO performance: winners 1964, 2008
Coach: Vicente del Bosque
Leading scorer: all-time – David Villa (51); current – David Villa (51)
Most appearances: all-time –Iker Casillas (131); current – Iker Casillas (131)
Association formed: 1909
Nickname: La Roja (The Reds)

As reigning world and European champions, Spain will be the team to beat once more in Poland and Ukraine. After ending a 44-year wait for a major trophy with their UEFA EURO 2008 triumph under Luis Aragonés, the Spanish have kept up the winning habit under Vicente del Bosque. They posted ten straight victories in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, then recovered from a slow start in South Africa to reach the final where Andrés Iniesta hit the extra-time winner against the Netherlands. There has been no let-up since with eight wins in a row to reach the 2012 showpiece.

UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying
Group I:
Leading scorer: David Villa (7)
Ever-presents: Sergio Ramos, David Villa (8)

Spain put high-profile friendly losses to Argentina (4-1) and Portugal (4-0) behind them, joining a group of five teams to complete a EURO qualifying campaign with a perfect record.

The first of David Villa's two goals against the Czech Republic in Granada on 25 March 2011 enabled him to overtake Raúl González as his country's all-time leading marksman. He ended the campaign as the first Spaniard to reach 50 international goals.

Xavi Hernández became the fourth Spanish international to have won a century of caps in that Czech game, while goalkeeper Iker Casillas surpassed FC Barcelona goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta's all-time mark during November's friendly internationals, equalling the record with his 126th cap in the friendly against England on 12 November and surpassing it against Costa Rica four days later.

"Nobody has ever won a sequence of EURO, World Cup, EURO," said coach Del Bosque. "That's the huge goal we have ahead of us; now let's see if we can pull it off."

EURO pedigree
Spain's long wait for silverware came to an end in Vienna in 2008 as Aragonés's side defeated Germany 1-0 to win a competition they had taken by storm. Fernando Torres provided the decisive blow in the final, shooting beyond Jens Lehmann in the 33rd minute.

Prior to that tournament, Spain – beaten by France in the 1984 final – had failed to add to their trophy cabinet since claiming their first major prize on home soil in Madrid in 1964. They won that year's final 2-1 against the Soviet Union at the Santiago Bernabéu. Marcelino Martínez headed a memorable winner six minutes from time after Galimzian Khusainov had quickly cancelled out Jesús Pereda's sixth-minute opener.

Spain have been involved in the most fixtures by a single country in the competition with 135 matches played since their 4-2 away win against Poland in the first round of the 1960 UEFA European Championship on 28 June 1959.

UEFA EURO 2012 Group C fixtures
Sunday 10 June:
Spain v Italy, 18.00CET, Gdansk
Thursday 14 June: Spain v Republic of Ireland, 20.45CET, Gdansk
Monday 18 June: Croatia v Spain, 20.45CET, Gdansk

Team EURO records
Matches played
P135 W85 D25 L25 F298 A114
Final tournament: P30 W13 D9 L8 F38 A31
Qualifying: P105 W72 D16 L17 F260 A83

Click here for extensive list of records

Last updated 4 June 2011

Last updated: 06/12/13 4.43CET

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