Spain national team coach Julen Lopetegui has praised his team’s rivals and their manager this evening during a pre-match press conference.
Speaking from Dusseldorf, Lopetegui has said that Germany, who are Spain’s rivals this evening (19:45 BST/GMT BT Sport 3), have grown from strength to strength.
“They won the Confederations cup with nine or ten U-21 players and at the same time the U-21 team won the Euros. This speaks volumes of how well they are doing things, ” he said.
When asked if La Roja is favourite to win tonight Lopetegui was adamant that this is the least of his worries: “This doesn’t interest us very much. What’s important is to play well against a very demanding team.”
However the former Porto manager’s praise didn’t just fall on the team, he also applauded his German counterpart Joachim Löw.
“You just have to look at his track record. He has been national team coach for 10 years in which he has been successful. He has a clear style of play and has made the national team look like a club team. He deserves all our admiration” Lopetegui added.
Although Lopetegui left it clear during past interviews that even players that haven’t been called-up this time around still have a chance of making it to the World Cup squad, journalists keep asking him for specific players, this time he was asked about Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martínez, the coach insisted that Javi is a player he likes very much “he’s always going to be in our minds. He didn’t come this time because of final details. He’s one of our own.”
Spain have two tough games ahead, the priority for Lopetegui is to get as much as they can from these matches: “we are aware that this is a golden opportunity, we will try our best for everyone to be able to contribute to the team”.
The good news coming from the Spain camp is that it looks like Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué will most likely play because Lopetegui said that he will train with the whole group.