They have done it before and they will be looking to do it again. Defending champion Spain have won the competition back-to-back and they start the bid to make it three in a row today. Can they do it?
That question will be answered by the 10th of July. However, a loss to a lowly ranked Georgia has already put that question in doubt. Spain lost 1-0 to Georgia in their final warm up game. Three days after, the team was rocked by a sexual assaults allegations against their goalkeeper David de Gea. A woman was said to have been forced against her will to take part in a sex party with the team, an allegation the goalkeeper denied in a press conference.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has backed his goalkeeper and he said the team will give him the love and care he need. He will be looking to steady the rocking ship before the team kick off on Monday afternoon.
Spain’s opponents, Czech Republic, shipped in the most goals of all the teams in the qualifier that made it to the group stage. They have not won in their last six matches and they lost their last warm up match to South Korea, a team humbled 6 – 1 by Spain some days earlier.
Spain will hope to take advantage of their defensive frailties and start the tournament with a good win, a move which will help the team overcome their worries.
Spain has no injury concern. Alvaro Morata has overcome a thigh injury which made him miss the final warm up. Real Madrid and Atletico players will also be refreshed now, having had to stay a little longer before joining up with the squad due to the UCL final.
Czech Republic will be without Marek Suchy who is suspended. Michal Kadlec or Roman Hubnik will replace him at centre back.
This is Spain and the Czech Republic’s first encounter in a major tournament.
Spain’s last defeat in the Euros was back in June 2004 against Portugal (0-1).
Only Lilian Thuram and Edwin van der Sar (16) have played more games at the European Championships than Iker Casillas (14).
The Czech Republic conceded 14 goals in the qualifying campaign, more than any other team to have qualified for the Euro 2016 finals.
Spain have only conceded one goal in their last nine games in the tournament, scored by Italy’s Antonio di Natale on 10 June 2012.