A year to the day since Andrés Iniesta's extra-time strike secured Spain FIFA World Cup glory at the Netherlands' expense, coach Vicente del Bosque warned the Roja's rivals that his side remain hungry for more silverware.
Spain are atop UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group I and well placed to defend their European title at next summer's showcase in Poland and Ukraine. These are heady times, and Del Bosque happily took time to reflect on the "unforgettable" night in Johannesburg on 11 July 2010, when the side were proclaimed world champions for the first time.
"The year has passed so quickly; it's flown by in the blink of an eye," said the 60-year-old, a two-time UEFA Champions League winner with Real Madrid CF. "I remember we had tricky moments throughout that tournament, but we were always very united and before the final we knew we were on the verge of something very special in our national game.
"There were times in South Africa when I thought that 'yes, this is destiny', but without being overly superstitious. I always felt the key moment in the final was when [Arjen] Robben had a shot saved by the boot of Iker Casillas; that changed everything."
Despite Spain having been the dominant force in world and European football for a number of years, Del Bosque feels the talent and competition among the continent's top nations is continuing to grow. "In the European Championship there is only one round fewer [than in the World Cup] while in terms of overall quality the level is very similar," he said.
"In both competitions we were lucky we could count on a marvellous generation of players who, as well as being really talented, are also nice guys, are humble, will sacrifice everything they have and who together are capable of producing splendid football. We are the team that is now setting the trend. If you look back at the World Cup you saw that sides such as Germany, Paraguay, etc. wanted to follow the same path as us."
For now the priority for Spain is to seal qualification for next summer's finals. "We obviously still have to get there but we are in a good position on that front," continued the coach, whose side are six points clear of second placed Czech Republic with three games to go. "Should we do so, our objective is to arrive in Poland and Ukraine in the best of conditions.
"We've marked out an objective which is to have a trophy-winning sequence of EURO, World Cup, EURO. Having said that, we can't have blind faith in ourselves; the worst thing any sportsman can do is to believe they are superior. There are many teams you could consider sleeping giants in international football; teams like France, Italy and England, who we may have to face.
"Also, teams such as the Netherlands and Germany finished second and third respectively at the last World Cup. There are a variety of teams out there who are going to make it difficult for us."
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