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Euro 2016: Spain desperate to draw line under Brazil nightmare

Defending champions have difficulties to overcome as they prepare to face the Czech Republic – not least the worry over their goalkeeper David de Gea

These have been nervous days, Vicente del Bosque admitted, but then again they always are. This was not about David de Gea, although the Spain manager said that a decision on who starts in goal against the Czech Republic on Monday had not been taken, a judgment yet to be made regarding whether the past two days have affected the man at last set to become their No1. Nor, he said, was it about their preparation, although he said it had been unusual. This, he insisted, is just the way it is, a condition of competition. “Twenty-four hours before, or 48 or 72, you get a little edgy,” Del Bosque said. “I get nervous, even if it doesn’t look like it.”

He was right: it did not. For all the problems Del Bosque has faced, there was barely a twitch of the moustache. It was that time again, one he and his players have come to know well. It has tended to go well, too: 2014 was disastrous, it is true, Spain falling at the Maracanã, that graveyard of great expectations, but the Uefa official who introduced them to the audience at the Stadium de Toulouse, announced: “It is a great honour; we have the title holder here ... which, as you all know, is Spain.”

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