Casillas: ‘We must step up’

Spain ‘keeper Iker Casillas makes a diving save in training (Getty Images)

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas has called for the whole Spain team to step up and shake off the underachiver tag in this year’s European Championships.

Casillas assured reporters that Spain would go all out for victory in today’s opener against Russia, but also maintained that they would learn from past mistakes this time.

“Sure, if we’re trailing 3-0 at half-time and end up with a draw then it will be a good result.”

“But we’re going to try and win this game. We’re not saying that qualification will be assured just by winning our first game. You saw what happened in Portugal [Euro 2004], we won our first game and then we were knocked out.”

Fans will be able to make an early judgement after today’s game with Russia, whose manager Guus Hiddink has plenty of experience of Spanish football.

Having managed Real Betis, Valencia and Real Madrid in the past, Casillas is wary of Hiddink’s vast experience. “There’s no doubt that having a knowledge of our football is great for them”.

“We’ll always have respect for a team that is managed by Guus Hiddink, he’s done well almost everywhere he’s been. His teams are always there or thereabouts and they’re always fighting. They will be very dangerous.”

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