The chance to feature at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is an extra motivation for Spain's veteran players, said coach Vicente del Bosque on the eve of their first qualifying match in Georgia.
Spain's haul of two European Championship titles and one World Cup trophy in the last four years means they have eclipsed Brazil as the team to beat but the South Americans still hold a special place in the heart of most footballers. "It's a great incentive to be there (Brazil)," Del Bosque told a news conference on Monday. "I have complete confidence in all the players, the new and the old. For the veterans around the 30 mark I am sure it will be a motivation to make the finals."
Barcelona playmaker Xavi, 32, was one of the footballers Del Bosque was referring to. "The World Cup is a wonderful event and the next one is in a country with a great football tradition," said Xavi. "This generation has never played against Brazil and this is a big motivation."
Del Bosque, who took over from Luis Aragones after Spain won Euro 2008, has a 100 percent record in qualifying for major tournaments. "Tomorrow we start the defence of the title we won in South Africa. This is how we are approaching the game," the coach said. "Over the last four years we have played two qualifying campaigns and we have won all 18 games. We want to continue in the same manner."
Xavi said Spain would be taking nothing for granted in Tuesday's match. "Being world and European champions doesn't guarantee anything," he said. "We have analysed Georgia and they are a tough rival. "They defend in numbers and have quality going forward. It is being taken for granted we will be in the finals but it is going to be difficult."