Vicente del Bosque is uncomfortable with suggestions Spain are favourites to add the World Cup 2010 title to their Euro 2008 crown.Del Bosque was speaking ahead of his side's upcoming World Cup qualifying double-header against Turkey, where Spain will look to build on a 100% record from their opening four matches in Group Five - giving them a four-point lead over the second-placed Turks.
Victories in Madrid and Istanbul would put Spain within touching distance of a place in the finals, and also continue their remarkable unbeaten streak that currently stands at 29 matches, 27 of which have ended in victory and one of which earned them the Euro 2008 title.During that run which stretches back over two years, Spain have also scored 54 goals and conceded just 10, as well as taking over as the top-ranked team in the world.It is no surprise, therefore, the Iberian nation are considered by many as favourites to win their maiden World Cup title next summer, but Del Bosque admits that does not sit easy with him."It's inevitable, but it gives me the shivers to say we are the favourites for the World Cup. These are just words," he said.
"We have to be normal people and normal people know you have opponents to face."
One day we will suffer a fall so we need to be prudent.
"Before Spain can even dream about World Cup glory in South Africa they have to qualify, and the upcoming matches against Turkey could have a huge say in that.The two fixtures arrive at a crucial stage of the domestic football calendar, and most of the Spain squad are still heavily involved in battles for silverware both at home and in Europe with their respective clubs.Del Bosque is hoping the players can put club matters to one side though and focus all their efforts on helping Spain move a step closer to their ninth successive World Cup finals appearance.
"We have two difficult games against an opponent who are well-placed in the FIFA rankings, and who have progressed a lot in their football," said Del Bosque in Marca."But we are going through a good spell. I hope we can get our players up for these two games because the players, as much those from Villarreal as Barcelona, as Madrid and Liverpool, are in the middle of fights in the league and Champions League.
"We will return from Istanbul and a few days later some of the players will be facing Valladolid, or Bayern Munich the following Wednesday."I hope all this does not distract them from trying to qualify for the World Cup."With regards to his own mindset ahead of his return to the Bernabeu stadium, Del Bosque is confident his thoughts will remain on the job at hand.Del Bosque was in charge of Real Madrid from 1999-2003 and led them to two Champions League titles and two Primera Liga crowns before sensationally leaving 24 hours after that second league success having not been offered a new contract.
Del Bosque said of this weekend's match: "I'm not very nostalgic. I'll feel some emotion, but that will be counter-balanced by my responsibilities for the game."