Iker Casillas has called on Spain supporters to forget club allegiances and get behind their team when they gather at the Santiago Bernabéu for Saturday's visit of Sweden.
Spain are second in Group F, one point behind their opponents but five clear of third-placed Denmark and Northern Ireland, meaning a victory against Sweden would secure progress. With UEFA EURO 2008™ within touching distance, Casillas hopes the home crowd will drive on Luis Aragonés's side despite the omission of his Real Madrid CF club-mate Raúl González.
"I'd like to ask the fans to support us and by this I mean to support the coach too. The Bernabéu will be full of Spanish fans for this game, not just Real Madrid fans. I'm sure Club Atlético de Madrid, [FC] Barcelona and Albacete [Balompié] fans will be coming to the game and what we all want is for Spain to play in the [UEFA] European Championship."
Casillas, who made his international debut against Sweden in June 2000 and will win his 73rd cap on Saturday, is impressed by the manner of Spain's recovery from losing two of their first three qualifiers. A run of six victories in seven Group F matches has taken them to the brink of qualification with a home game against Northern Ireland to come on Wednesday. "A year ago, few had faith in us qualifying and now we're in a position where we can win the group," he said. "We have to make sure we do our job on Saturday so we can travel to Las Palmas and enjoy ourselves."
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