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Holders Spain respectful of Group C rivals

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque expects a "difficult" test in Group C while Giovanni Trapattoni is wary of facing his native Italy and Slaven Bilić "can't wait" to get started.

Holders Spain respectful of Group C rivals
Holders Spain respectful of Group C rivals ©uefa.com 1998-2012. All rights reserved.

He may have guided UEFA EURO 2008 winners Spain to 2010 FIFA World Cup glory but Vicente del Bosque will be taking nothing for granted in Group C where Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni will be reunited with his native Italy and Croatia's Slaven Bilić "can't wait" for the action to begin.

Vicente del Bosque, Spain coach
It's always difficult. Croatia and Ireland qualified via the play-offs but they won by very big margins. And then there'll be a classic match against Italy. So I think we'll have to prepare well, get there in our best form, and focus more on ourselves than our opponents.

I think that there aren't any major differences between sides in modern football. Every team is basically pretty well balanced and set up. And most of the players play in Europe at big European clubs, so [Croatia and Ireland] are teams we're familiar with. Each team has its own style but what's important in the end is to win the matches.

Cesare Prandelli, Italy coach
It's a very difficult group. We have the current European and world champions as well as two other very important teams, and of course we know Trapattoni very well. Spain aren't the only team to beat – every team has to be beaten, especially the teams you think could it make into the next round, starting with Spain.

I don't know [if Spain and Italy are favourites], but we shouldn't single out Italy as a favourite because then something will go wrong. Let's just hope we play to a high standard.

Giovanni Trapattoni, Republic of Ireland coach
We knew that, due to our ranking, we'd be facing the strongest teams at the EURO. There was Germany, England, the Netherlands and Spain, and we were drawn with Spain. We'll face them in our second match. I hope we'll be playing for a place in the next round when we face Italy, because that would give us a big psychological boost. I think it will be Ireland, Italy and Croatia fighting for second spot.

I didn't want to play Italy because of technical reasons and also because of the psychological aspect. We know each other very well and one of us has to leave the tournament but I don't know who. We'll play with our enthusiasm, willingness and identity, then we'll see what happens.

Slaven Bilić, Croatia coach
It's a great group. We have the European and world champions, a recent world champion and Ireland, who are playing great football and have great fans. We're looking forward to it big time. It's a very tough group, like the others are, and we have not only hope but a chance to go through. We're going to prepare well. We have three great games in front of us and we are delighted.

There is a sensational spirit in the Croatia squad. The best seem to get the best out of you – it's an exciting prospect. It's unbelievable so we can't wait for it. I'm so happy. I have the biggest respect for those three teams. We're definitely not the favourites but we can give them a good game.

Group C schedule
Sunday 10 June

ESP v ITA, 18.00CET, Gdansk
IRL v CRO, 20.45CET, Poznan

Thursday 14 June
ITA v CRO, 18.00CET, Poznan
ESP v IRL, 20.45CET, Gdansk

Monday 18 June
CRO v ESP, 20.45CET, Gdansk
ITA v IRL, 20.45CET, Poznan