Euro 2012: Barcelona & Spain success not related, says Mourinho
Real Madrid coach José Mourinho dismisses comparisons between Spain's playing style and that of Barcelona
José Mourinho has dismissed comparisons between Barcelona and European champions Spain, insisting the two sides have different styles of play.
Vicente Del Bosque’s Spanish squad contains seven players from Barcelona, and the world champions’ dominance over the past four years has regularly been attributed to the Catalans club’s success.
But Mourinho is keen to emphasise the contribution of his Madrid players in the national team’s recent triumph at the World Cup as well as Euro 2008.
“They talk about the national team and Barcelona but there are also five players from Real Madrid,” said Mourinho.
“I don’t understand why they mix them because they are two distinct things. Spain isn’t Barcelona.
“Barcelona were the champions of Spain. And I repeat, were the champions because now they are not.
“Spain are the world champions and there is no doubt in this.
“They are one of the best teams in Europe and, if everything goes normally, Spain has to qualify, advance and compete, possibly with Germany and a couple of other teams, to be the champions of Europe.”
Pre-match facts: Croatia v Spain
• Spain are 16 competitive games without defeat, since their 1-0 loss to Switzerland on 16/06/2010 at the World Cup. They have lost four of their 14 friendlies in that time, however.
• Spain won eight out of eight in Group I, becoming one of only five sides to go through a qualifying campaign with a 100 per cent record in the history of the European championship.
• Mario Mandzukic’s opener against the Republic of Ireland was timed at two minutes, 38 seconds – the sixth quickest goal at a European championship.
• Slaven Bilić’s side had won four successive European championship group games before their 1-1 draw with Italy.
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