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When Spain begin their defence of the FIFA World Cup on 13 June they will do so against the country they defeated to win the trophy for the first time four years ago – the Netherlands. "It is fate that we play them again in our first match, the same as the final of the last World Cup," coach Vicente del Bosque told UEFA.com of one of his team's Group B opponents in Brazil.
Del Bosque was in charge in South Africa when Spain recovered from an opening loss to Switzerland to add the world title to the continental crown Luis Aragonés had guided them to in 2008. La Roja start against European opposition once more in the shape of the Dutch, the nation they edged out in the Johannesburg showpiece thanks to Andrés Iniesta's 116th-minute goal.
"Let's see if we are capable of beating the Netherlands again; they have certainly changed since that World Cup final," added Del Bosque, whose side capitalised on the dismissal of John Heitinga in extra time. "I have always said that Dutch football has always been very powerful, and it will be a difficult group."
It is a section made up of Chile – a squad boasting several Spain-based players, notably FC Barcelona winger Alexis Sánchez, and a team they triumphed 2-1 against in the 2010 group stage – and Australia. "We have a lot of respect for Chile, because we know what difficult opponents they are," said Del Bosque, who also oversaw Spain's UEFA EURO 2012 triumph in Poland and Ukraine.
"We have played a few matches against them in recent times, friendlies and competitively, and we've only beaten them pretty narrowly. Australia, they might be the more unknown team. But they have qualified and we shouldn't underestimate them at all."
To hear more from the former Beşiktaş JK and Real Madrid CF coach, including the "positive experience" Spain had in Brazil last summer at the FIFA Confederations Cup, click on the video player above.
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