Spain relish Black Forest peace before Germany clash

From the peace of the Black Forest, Spain are blocking out both a growing cacophony back home and their new tag as Euro 2024 favourites ahead of their quarter-final against hosts Germany.

Luis de la Fuente’s Spain have the only perfect record at the tournament, scoring nine goals and only conceding one – an own goal against Georgia – in four straight wins.

“Obviously, you can’t ignore it. Messages come through,” said forward Mikel Oyarzabal of the buzz and excitement in Spain.

“We are trying a bit to stay on the margin. We’re in an atmosphere that couldn’t be better, to be quiet, to prepare the game as well as possible,” he added in a news conference from the team’s luxury hotel in an idyllic rural setting outside the small town of Donaueschingen.

Oyarzabal, who has so far been used as a substitute for Spain, said his team mates were relaxed but working hard and not at all over-confident due to increased expectations.

“Now they say we’re favourites, but three or four weeks ago, nobody was saying it,” he said.

“We know we are capable of competing against anyone. Not now because people believe we are more or less favourites, are we going to ease up … We’re relaxed, working hard and trying to prepare as well as possible for Friday.”

Remarkably, Germany’s last competitive win over Spain was in 1988. Oyarzabal was on the scoresheet in a 6-0 Nations League hammering four years ago, but he said that meant nothing now, with Germany also looking in fine form at the Euros.

“Germany are a great team, you don’t need me to tell you that. They’ve started the tournament really strong, it’s going to be a tough game,” he said.

Many of Spain’s players have had long and tough seasons, between cup runs and league commitments. But Oyarzabal said the team were in good condition physically.

“There’ll be time to rest later. Hopefully it will be in two weeks when we are taking our holidays!”

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