Lamine Yamal has been named in Spain's provisional squad for Euro 2024, while Barcelona team-mate Fermin Lopez is one of two uncapped players included by Luis de la Fuente.

The 16-year-old headlines a relatively youthful 29-man party for La Roja, which must be cut to 26 by June 7 ahead of the tournament in Germany.

Yamal became Spain's youngest ever player and scorer when, aged 16 years and 50 days old, he found the net on his debut against Georgia last September, and has been a standout player for Barca this season.

He is joined in the squad by team-mates Pedri, Pau Cubarsi, Ferran Torres and Fermin, who is handed his first senior call-up by De la Fuente having also impressed during his maiden LaLiga campaign.

The same can be said for Real Betis forward Ayoze Perez, who scored 11 goals for Los Verdiblancos this term, but Marco Asensio, Pedro Perro, Pau Torres and Kepa Arrizabalaga are notable absentees, with Gavi also missing out through injury.

David Raya, Alex Grimaldo and Marc Cucurella are among several players still yet to reach double figures in caps to be included.

Greater experience is provided by skipper Alvaro Morata, as well as the likes of Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Rodri and Jesus Navas, while Real Madrid striker Joselu also gets the nod following his Champions League semi-final heroics against Bayern Munich.

Spain begin their Euro 2024 campaign against Croatia in Berlin on June 15, while La Roja will also face Italy and Albania in Group B.

Spain head coach Luis de la Fuente has urged the national side to concentrate on their football at Euro 2024 and block out the noise surrounding the RFEF.

Former RFEF president Luis Rubiales was dismissed following his unsolicited kiss on Jenni Hermoso during the Women's World Cup trophy ceremony in 2023 and was then arrested in early April as part of a corruption investigation.

Pedro Rocha, who was initially named as Rubiales’ replacement, is also under investigation amid the corruption probe.

The RFEF then created a special committee at the end of April, led by former Spain manager Vicente del Bosque, to oversee the federation until there is an official election for their next president.

However, De la Fuente told Reuters that he wants his squad’s full attention on the tournament itself. 

He said: "We have to concern ourselves with purely, strictly sporting matters - which we have enough of.

"We have to focus on what we can control. This is very, very basic, but it's very real. Stick to football.

"I'm concerned about how the facilities are going to be, the training camp, the pitches, the travel. And on the pitch, because the players know that we are going to be judged for what we do on the pitch.

"Everything else, all the media noise that exists around us, is not going to help us. So then we have to be totally and absolutely focused on what is, for us, the most important thing: the competition."

Spain will begin their Euro 2024 campaign against Croatia in Group B on June 15. Their pool also includes Italy and Albania.

Lucas Paqueta scored a stoppage-time penalty as Brazil came from behind for a second time to claim a 3-3 draw in their international friendly in Spain.

Spain captain Rodri looked to have won the match for the hosts with his second spot-kick of the night, three minutes from time in Madrid.

The Manchester City midfielder had also opened the scoring in a thrilling contest at the Bernabeu Stadium with his first effort after 16 minutes before Dani Olmo added a superb second.

Brazil hit back through Rodrygo and Real Madrid-bound teenage star Endrick, and Paqueta snatched the draw after Rodri had put Spain back ahead.

Spain started strongly with 16-year-old Barcelona star Lamine Yamal an immediate handful.

The youngster blazed an early chance over and then won the penalty from which his side took the lead after jinking into the area and being brought down by Joao Gomes.

Rodri made no mistake with a shot straight down the middle.

Vinicius Junior, who was playing at his home ground and the focus of much pre-match attention, had Brazil’s first opportunity after a powerful run by Rodrygo but shot tamely at Unai Simon.

Spain wanted another penalty after Nico Williams was fouled by Bruno Guimaraes but the offence was just outside the area.

The hosts increased their advantage after 36 minutes with a dazzling effort from Olmo. Yamal was again involved with a well-weighted pass but the goal was all about Olmo’s nimble footwork as he weaved through three challenges before curling a shot past Bento.

Yet, as stunning as that was, Brazil pulled one back almost immediately after a poor error by Simon. The goalkeeper’s pass for Fabian Ruiz was far too weak and Rodrygo was quick to swoop, expertly lifting the ball back over Simon.

Brazil introduced Endrick at half-time and it did not take the youngster long to make his mark at the ground he will call home from this summer.

The 17-year-old, fresh from his winner against England on Saturday, was in the right place at the edge of the box when a corner was half-cleared. He met the ball with a powerful left-footed volley that thundered into the bottom corner with the aid of a deflection.

There were further chances at both ends with Olmo twice testing Bento either side of a Lucas Beraldo effort for Brazil that flew well over.

Dani Carvajal also forced a save before being awarded Spain’s second penalty of the night as he went down, under a Beraldo challenge five minutes from time.

Again Rodri was on target but Paqueta was to have the final word after Galeno was bundled over by Carvajal.

Lucas Paqueta scored a last-gasp penalty as Brazil twice came from behind to draw 3-3 with Spain in a thrilling friendly at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Paqueta converted with one of the last kicks of the game, less than 10 minutes after Rodri thought he had grabbed the winner for Spain in their first meeting with Brazil for 11 years.

Rodri had opened the scoring from the spot before Dani Olmo's strike doubled Spain's advantage.

Rodrygo issued an immediate response to halve the deficit and Brazil wonderboy Endrick scored for the second game running to level the score, paving the way for the late drama.

Having missed an early opportunity when he failed to test Brazil goalkeeper Bento, Lamine Yamal was at the heart of Spain's opener when, in the 11th minute, he was brought down by Joao Gomez in the box, with referee Antonio Nobre pointing to the spot – Rodri calmly slotting the resulting penalty down the middle.

Brazil went close at the other end when Real Madrid stars Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior combined, with the latter firing straight at Unai Simon, but Spain made it 2-0 when Olmo lashed in following superb skill to bamboozle two defenders.

Brazil responded quickly, though, punishing an error from Simon when Spain’s goalkeeper gifted the ball straight to Rodrygo, who finished coolly.

The half-time break and the four changes made by head coach Dorival Junior had the desired impact for Brazil, as Endrick – fresh from his historic winner against England – volleyed home an equaliser following a corner.

Olmo was denied a second when Bento pulled off an excellent save, but Spain did eventually get their chance to win it when Dani Carvajal was bundled over by Beraldo.

Once again, Rodri was on target, but in the dying embers, Carvajal’s clumsy tackle on Galeno handed Paqueta the chance to grab a draw, with the West Ham midfielder making no mistake.

Endrick shows the Bernabeu what he can do

After becoming Brazil’s youngest scorer since Ronaldo when he grabbed the winner at Wembley on Saturday, Endrick – who will be joining Madrid ahead of next season – will hope his goal this time out is the first of many at his soon-to-be stomping ground.

The 17-year-old levelled the scores five minutes into the second half with just his fourth shot for Brazil.

Head coach Dorival Junior will be disappointed that Brazil could not build on Saturday's 1-0 win against England with another victory but will see the positives as his side prepare to try and win a 10th Copa America title this summer.

The draw also keeps up Brazil’s excellent record against European nations in friendlies having not lost such a match since August 2013 against Switzerland.

Spain slip up... again

Spain failed to score in Friday's surprise friendly defeat to Colombia despite having 13 shots, but they had no such problem this time in a dominant first-half display.

Barcelona prodigy Yamal impressed, winning the penalty and being involved in much of Spain's positive play, while Olmo showed his individual quality too.

But from a position of comfort, Simon's mistake gifted Brazil a route back into the contest, head coach Luis de la Fuente will only have been further frustrated by Carvajal's clumsiness right at the end, as their search for a first win of 2024 rumbles on.

Crystal Palace defender Daniel Munoz scored a stunning first international goal as Spain’s build-up to Euro 2024 began with a surprise 1-0 defeat by Colombia.

Right-back Munoz acrobatically converted Luis Diaz’s cross in the 61st minute to earn his side a morale-boosting result moving towards this summer’s Copa America in the United States.

Three-time European champions Spain enjoyed plenty of possession at the London Stadium but lacked a cutting edge as their eight-match winning run ended.

Former Real Madrid man James Rodriguez played an instrumental role in his country’s success, which stretched their unbeaten run to 20 games, after coming off the bench following a forgettable first half.

Spain will look to bounce back on Tuesday night when they host Brazil at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

The Spanish – unfamiliar in yellow shirts against a nation renowned for wearing them – opted to leave influential Manchester City midfielder Rodri on the bench for the evening, while Liverpool’s Diaz captained Colombia.

Luis de la Fuente’s side started in the ascendancy but without seriously threatening in a tight opening period of few chances.

Athletic Bilbao defender Daniel Vivian nodded narrowly over on his international debut following a fine cross from Alex Grimaldo, who earlier fired straight at opposition goalkeeper Camilo Vargas.

Colombia, backed by a sizeable support at the home of West Ham, were aggressively pressed by a team monopolising possession.

Mateo Cassierra forced a save out of Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya following a well-worked free-kick routine but the South Americans were restricted to little as they largely sought opportunities to counter.

Colombia manager Nestor Lorenzo turned to James in search of a much-needed spark for the second period, while Spain keeper Raya was replaced by debutant Alex Remiro of Real Sociedad.

Lorenzo’s men improved significantly after the restart, albeit Vargas had to be alert to deny Gerard Moreno a 49th-minute opener.

Minutes after skying well over when well placed, ex-Everton player James played a key role in what proved to be the winner.

His fine pass released Diaz down the left and, after twisting and turning Vivian, the skipper delivered an inviting centre which bounced before Munoz, winning his 24th cap, dispatched the ball high into Remiro’s net with an eye-catching scissor kick.

The thumping finish sparked wild scenes of celebration among the healthy Colombian contingent in a crowd of more than 43,000.

Spain introduced striker Alvaro Morata as part of a triple change.

But they could not find a leveller as they slipped to a first defeat since a shock 2-0 European Championship qualifying loss to Scotland last March.

Jenni Hermoso has revealed “football continues to give me life” after emerging from the controversy surrounding former Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales’ unsolicited kiss.

Speaking at a press conference for the first time since Rubiales was forced to resign after kissing her on the lips in the wake of Spain’s World Cup final victory over England, the 33-year-old midfielder reflected upon a difficult six months as she prepared for her country’s Nations League final clash with France.

She said on Tuesday: “For me, it’s very important to play in another final, to continue here. I feel good, football continues to give me the life I need.

“I want to continue enjoying games with my national team and with my Tigres team, and I continue to enjoy this sport.

“If we win tomorrow, Spain will have made history again.”

Rubiales’ actions, which have since resulted in a three-year FIFA ban from all football-related activity, prompted boycotts of Spanish national teams and sparked anger across the world over sexism in the women’s game.

Hermoso, who plays her club football in Mexico, found herself at the centre of the controversy and admitted she had found that tough.

She said: “I’m lucky to be back in a final after six very long months. Today I’m enjoying football, competing with Spain to win another tournament.

“A lot has happened since then. It has been a hard process of understanding many things.

“I’m still playing football and the only thing I want is to continue enjoying myself wearing this shirt.”

Sarina Wiegman said England’s trip had yielded “many positives” after the team concluded their double-header of friendlies in southern Spain with a 5-1 win over Italy.

Four days on from the 7-2 defeat of Austria at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras, another thumping victory for the Lionesses at the same venue began with Lotte Wubben-Moy heading her first international goal in the opening minute.

Lauren Hemp extended the lead with a brace, the second via an excellent header, and after Michela Cambiaghi pulled a goal back for Italy in stoppage time at the end of the first half, substitutes Ella Toone and Rachel Daly completed the rout in the second half.

Boss Wiegman told ITV: “I think the whole camp, a lot of things pleased me.

“I think we had the opportunity to play many players…see what the level was, that was exactly what we wanted, see players in some positions and the connections between players, and then the competition.

“And when you have then such good wins as we had tonight and last Friday, that’s really nice too of course.”

Next up for England are the opening Euro 2025 qualifiers in April as Wiegman’s side begin the journey of defending the title they won on home soil in 2022.

When asked if the camp had given her the answers she needed ahead of the matches in April, Wiegman said: “You never know, because things in football can change so quickly, but it gave us many answers on questions we had at this moment.

“We could take this opportunity to see so many players and play two very good games, train also, see the under-23s (who joined the senior team on the trip). So just very many positives about this week.”

Those positives for Wiegman – who saw Leah Williamson withdraw from her original squad due to injury and Fran Kirby do so between the two matches – included debuts being made by 20-year-old Grace Clinton, a goalscorer in the Austria match, and Millie Turner introduced as a substitute against Italy.

On Arsenal defender Wubben-Moy, after her 12th senior appearance for the team, Wiegman said: “I think she’s definitely taken a step forward because she’s developing a lot and very good.

“That’s what we see weekly at Arsenal and that’s what she shows here too. What you can (also) see is the competition in the position is just really high.”

Wubben-Moy heading in from an Alex Greenwood delivery was an early example as England – on a night that saw them also make some notable errors at the back – demonstrated the problems they can cause from corners.

Wiegman added: “We are always working on it. We had a little more emphasis on it, we had a little more time this week.

“So it’s really good to see that it had so much effect and hopefully we can do that again in the following games.”

Former Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Miguel Angel Gonzalez has died at the age of 76.

Miguel Angel played for Madrid for 18 seasons between 1968 and 1986, winning two UEFA Cups, eight Spanish league titles, five Spanish Cups and one League Cup.

He was also capped 18 times by Spain, and played in both the 1978 and 1982 World Cups.

Following his playing career Miguel Angel held various roles at Real Madrid, including working as goalkeeper coach and director of the former training complex Ciudad Deportiva.

Miguel Angel was diagnosed with ALS, a form of motor neurone disease, in December 2022.

In a statement on Tuesday morning, the club said: “Real Madrid CF, its president and its board of directors are deeply saddened by the death of Miguel Angel Gonzalez, one of the greatest goalkeepers in our history, a legend of Real Madrid and Spanish football.

“Real Madrid would like to express its condolences and affection to his wife, Maria del Pilar, his son Miguel Angel, his grandchildren Daniela and Mauro, his family, his team-mates and all his loved ones.”

England will play matches against Austria and Italy during a training camp in Spain next month, the Football Association has announced.

Both games will take place at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras, with the Lionesses facing Austria on February 23 before taking on Italy four days later.

Sarina Wiegman’s side were last in action in December when they saw their bid to reach the Nations League semi-finals – and secure a Paris Olympics place for Great Britain – end despite winning 6-0 against Scotland at Hampden Park.

The February double-header of friendlies comes ahead of the Euro 2025 qualifying draw taking place on March 5, and that campaign getting under way in April.

Wiegman, who earlier this month signed a contract extension running to the 2027 World Cup, said in a statement from the FA: “This will be our kick-off to get ready for the Euro qualifying campaign beginning in April, so there’s no time to waste in February.

“Heading to Spain with hopefully warmer weather and great facilities will allow us to maximise every minute together. Playing two games against good opposition in Austria and Italy, should be excellent preparation for another big year ahead.

“They are two good and different opponents who will want to start the year strong too, so it will be important to come together again as a team and use these games to prepare for the qualification matches starting in April.”

Reigning European champions and World Cup runners-up England will be joined in Marbella by Emma Coates’ Under-23s, who are set to play matches against Spain and the Netherlands.

Despite falling three places to number 40 in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, Jamaica's Reggae Girlz held firm as the fourth-ranked team in Concacaf heading into the new year.

The Jamaicans, who drew three and lost one of their last four matches in Women's Gold Cup qualifiers between the last two windows, remain behind second-ranked United States, 10th-ranked Canada, and Mexico, who inched one spot up to 35th in the rankings released on Friday. 

Meanwhile, Haiti, who have attained their highest ever placing at 51st, along with Trinidad and Tobago (78th) and Guyana at 87th, are the next best Caribbean teams on the FIFA rankings list.

At the other end of the rankings, World Champions Spain took pole position for the first time, overtaking United States. Spain is only the fourth team to reach the summit of the rankings after the United States, Germany and Sweden.

France moved two spots up to third, as England held firm in fourth, while Sweden slipped four places into fifth. Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Korea DPR, and Canada (10th) complete the top 10 in that order, which no longer features Brazil, who slipped two places to 11th.

Italy great Giorgio Chiellini believes the Azzurri have a bright future ahead of them and says critics have been overly pessimistic regarding their chances at Euro 2024.

Chiellini captained Italy as they overcame England in the final of Euro 2020, but the Azzurri have not been widely tipped to retain their crown after enduring a difficult few years.

Having missed out on the last two World Cups, Italy somewhat scraped their way through qualifying for next year's tournament in Germany, losing home and away to England and requiring a nervy 0-0 draw with Ukraine on the final matchday to avoid the playoffs.

Ahead of Luciano Spalletti's first major tournament in charge, Italy have been drawn to face Spain, Croatia and Albania in a difficult-looking group, but Chiellini believes reports of the Azzurri's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

"I know the Italian draw very well. Croatia and Spain are good teams with experience, with good players," the defender told Stats Perform.

"Albania is our biggest friend that we face. We are very happy that they joined the Euros. I have a lot of Albanian friends and they deserve it. We have to respect that. 

"Obviously, we will try to pass through the group, arrive in the quarter-finals and then we'll see. We have seen also in the last [Euros], we were lucky. 

"I guess also in the round of 16 [against Austria], and we were lucky to win on penalties in the last two games, but at the end we deserved to win. 

"There is a good cycle, a new cycle, with good young players. I think that could be a good spine for the national team. 

"I don't know if they need maybe more time to be in the right moment and in their prime to win, but there is a bright future for the Italian national team."  

Asked who excited him most in the current Italy setup, Chiellini said: "I think [Gianluigi] Donnarumma is by far the best young goalkeeper that we could have and he's really special.

"[Alessandro] Bastoni is a fantastic defender and we have a lot of amazing midfielders. [Marco] Verratti is just 31, he's not 40 like me! We have a good midfield.

"[Federico] Chiesa is someone that could break every line in every moment of the game. Italy have a good team. 

"Now I hope that there are new faces arriving because we have a good academy for the national team, with players coming through. 

"We have a good coach, everything is good. Sometimes in Italy, we are too pessimistic with the team and we talk badly, but I think that we have a bright future and a really good team."

With Saturday's Euro 2024 group-stage draw done and dusted, Europe's elite know what awaits them in Germany next year and all eyes will turn to the opening game in Munich on June 14.

Steve Clarke's Scotland will be Germany's first opponents as they kickstart their bid to become the first sole host nation to win the tournament since France in 1984.

Elsewhere, England can be content with a somewhat kind draw as Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane and company look to bring football home, while Group B looks set to earn the title of 'group of death', with defending champions Italy pitted against Spain and Croatia.

As fans across the continent begin plotting their nations' routes to the final, to be held in Berlin on July 14, Stats Perform runs through the best facts and figures from each of the six groups. 

Group A: Germany, Hungary, Scotland, Switzerland

Germany have endured a troubled build-up to their home tournament, with Julian Nagelsmann parachuted in after the dismissal of Hansi Flick in September. The last Germany boss to win a major tournament at his first attempt was Jupp Derwall, who led the team (then West Germany) to Euro 1980 glory.

They will face a familiar foe in the form of Switzerland, who they will meet for the 54th time in senior internationals – no other team has faced Germany as often, but the teams have never met at the Euros before.

Germany's matchday one opponents will be Scotland, who will be making their fourth appearance at the Euros after also qualifying in 1992, 1996 and 2020. They have never reached the knockout stages. 

However, they may fancy their chances of edging out Switzerland and Hungary in what could be a battle for second place this time around. Hungary took bronze when they first appeared at the Euros in 1964, but they have only won one of their nine games at the tournament since then (four draws, four defeats), beating Austria in the 2016 group stage.

Group B: Spain, Albania, Croatia, Italy)

All eyes will be on Group B ahead of the tournament, with three-time winners Spain drawn alongside defending champions Italy – who they beat in the 2012 final – and 2022 World Cup bronze medallists Croatia. 

Excluding penalty shoot-outs, La Roja have only lost two of their last 22 matches at the Euros, winning 13 and drawing seven. The last two teams to beat them? Croatia and Italy in 2016.

Spain are the only nation to win back-to-back editions of the Euros, doing so in 2008 and 2012. Luciano Spalletti's Italy are looking to replicate that feat, having inched past Ukraine to claim second place in their qualification group.

The Azzurri have now qualified for eight successive editions of the tournament, though this is the first time they have reached a major competition while losing two or more games in their qualifying group, having been beaten home and away by England.

While Spain and Italy will feel unfortunate to have landed in such a difficult group, the omens are good for teams that face Croatia when it matters. They have lost to the eventual winners at four of their last six major tournaments, being beaten by Spain at Euro 2012, Portugal at Euro 2016, France at the 2018 World Cup, and Argentina in Qatar last year.

GROUP C: England, Denmark, Slovenia, Serbia

Gareth Southgate may be relieved to have avoided some of the heavy hitters with England landing in Group C, where they will start against Serbia on June 16 before taking on Denmark and Slovenia.

England's rematch with Denmark – who they beat in the Euro 2020 semi-finals – could be decisive in the battle for top spot. The Three Lions are unbeaten in all three of their meetings with Denmark at Euros/World Cups (two wins, one draw), with Switzerland the only team they have faced as often at tournaments without ever losing.

With Kane thriving at Bayern Munich and Bellingham a former star at Borussia Dortmund, two of the Three Lions' star players are no strangers to German turf.

 

They also have an excellent record against Slovenia, winning five and drawing one of the teams' six all-time meetings. The only one of those games to take place at a major tournament came at the 2010 World Cup, when Jermain Defoe hit the winner in a 1-0 victory for Fabio Capello's team.

Serbia, meanwhile, will be featuring at the Euros for the first time as an independent nation. They competed as Yugoslavia or FR Yugoslavia in five editions, finishing as runners-up in 1960 and 1968.

Group D: France, Austria, Netherlands, play-off winner A

With Kylian Mbappe spearheading their star-studded team, France head to the Euros among the favourites. Boss Didier Deschamps captained his country to glory at Euro 2000, and he could become the first person to win the competition as both a player and a head coach.

Les Bleus, however, face a tough set of opponents in Group D, none more so than the Netherlands.

France have faced the Oranje more often at the Euros without ever winning than they have any other side, losing their last two such matches against them at the 2000 and 2008 tournaments.

Ronald Koeman might be pleased to see his team drawn alongside Austria, with the Netherlands winning their last seven matches against them, averaging 2.9 goals per game throughout that run (20 in total).

The final team in Group D will be decided via the play-offs in March, with Wales, Finland, Poland and Estonia vying for a ticket to Germany. France have met any of those nations at the Euros.

Group E: Belgium, Romania, Slovakia, play-off winner B

Belgium headline Group E, with Domenico Tedesco at the wheel as the last members of the Red Devils' so-called golden generation look to finally deliver on their promise.

Since losing to West Germany in the final of Euro 1980, Belgium have never reached the semi-finals of the tournament, being knocked out in the last eight at each of the last two editions – versus Wales in 2016 and Italy at Euro 2020.

They will be content with a kind-looking draw, with Romania the team drawn into Group E from pot two. Their win ratio of just six per cent at the Euros is the worst of any nation to qualify for more than one edition, winning just once in 16 games at the tournament. 

Slovakia, meanwhile, have only won two of their seven games at Euro tournaments (one draw, four defeats), also failing to score in four of their last five games.

Ukraine, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland will battle for the final spot in this group in March.

GROUP F: Portugal, Turkiye, Czech Republic, play-off winner C

Group F contains 2016 winners Portugal, the only team to reach the knockout stages of the last seven editions of the Euros, a run that stretches back to the 1996 tournament. In fact, they have always progressed from the group stages in their eight previous appearances at the Euros.

Cristiano Ronaldo seems set to be sticking around for this tournament. He will be 39 by the time it rolls around. The Al Nassr attacker holds the records for most games (25) and most goals (14) at the Euros, has also managed a joint-record six assists (since records began in 1972).

Ronaldo's 20 total goal involvements at the Euros are twice as many as any other player since assist records began, with Michel Platini second on 10 (nine goals, one assist).

Roberto Martinez's team open their campaign against the Czech Republic, who are featuring at an eighth successive edition of the Euros (including appearances as Czechoslovakia). Only Germany (14) and France (nine) are currently on longer runs of consecutive appearances.

One of Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan and Luxembourg will join Turkiye in rounding out the group. They are looking to improve on their dismal showing at Euro 2020, and have qualified for three successive editions of the Euros for the first time. However, they have lost six of their last seven matches at the tournament (one win).

Spain boss Luis de la Fuente believes La Roja have received the toughest draw for the group stage of Euro 2024, having been handed games against Italy, Croatia and Albania.

As one of five teams with the best records across the qualification groups, Spain joined hosts Germany, as well as England, France, Portugal and Belgium in pot one for Saturday's draw in Hamburg.

That did not stop them being handed a tough set of opponents, however, with reigning champions Italy and 2022 World Cup bronze medallists Croatia joining La Roja and Albania in Group B.

Spain are the only team to win back-to-back editions of the Euros, triumphing in 2008 and 2012, and excluding penalty shoot-outs, they have only lost two of their last 22 matches at the Euros, winning 13 and drawing seven.

The only two teams to beat La Roja at the tournament during that time are Croatia and Italy, both of whom did so in 2016.

While De la Fuente says there is no such thing as a straightforward group, he believes Spain will face a particularly difficult challenge in Germany.

"The level is very high. All the groups are tough, complex, but ours may be the highest level," the Spain boss told reporters at Saturday's draw ceremony.

"There are other complicated ones, like France and the Netherlands [in Group D], but I think ours is the most complex. 

"We are playing in a European Championship, and we all know that the difficulty is at the maximum, including for teams playing against Spain.

"But that will make us concentrate from the first moment. We know perfectly how to play Italy and Croatia, and Albania are a very dangerous team. 

"Italy was not in the favourites' pot, but it was guaranteed that no one wanted them. Their potential is better than the moment they are going through." 

Gianluigi Buffon believes Italy should be confident of going far at Euro 2024, despite being drawn into a difficult-looking group.

Reigning European champions Italy were placed into Group B during Saturday's draw in Hamburg.

That means Luciano Spalletti's team, who rather scraped through in qualifying, will go up against heavyweights Spain, 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Croatia and Albania.

While acknowledging the draw might have been kinder, former Italy stalwart Buffon – the most-capped player in his nation's history – was bullish about the Azzurri's chances.

"It was wonderful putting that trophy back in the circle, as we feel pride and responsibility going into this competition as reigning champions," Buffon told RAI Sport, as reported by Football Italia.

"Seeing as we were in pot four, a tough draw was always going to be probable.

"This group is a bit like the one we had at Euro 2012 with Spain, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland. We went through second and reached the final.

"In the format this time, the four best third-placed sides qualify too, so that increases our chances. We are concerned, but the other teams won’t be jumping for joy at drawing Italy either.

"There will be time until June for this team to improve. In terms of individuals, there are three or four teams in the competition who have stronger squads, but when we are working as a single unit, with one mind, I don't know how many teams are really stronger than us."

Italy will open their campaign against Albania on June 15 in Dortmund, before facing Spain five days later and Croatia on June 24.

Coach Spalletti echoed Buffon's sentiments, albeit perhaps not with quite as much confidence.

"It could've gone better, but then we were in pot four. And never forget that we are Italy," he told RAI Sport.

"Anyone who loves this sport must enjoy the challenge, otherwise you lose all the pleasure of it.

"Within a match there are going to be various moments where the squad has to defend, even with 10 men around the edge of the box if necessary, but the intention is always to play attractive and attacking football."

Spain concluded their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 3-1 win against Georgia.

They had already qualified for next year’s tournament in Germany prior to the game, but a frenetic opening 10 minutes saw their early lead through Robin Le Normand cancelled out by Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

The hosts were then forced into an early substitution when Gavi was forced off the field with an injury, but were able to wrap up victory when Ferran Torres headed them in front 10 minutes into the second half before Luka Lochoshvili scored an own goal.

The result means Spain finish top of Group A with seven wins under their belts, while Georgia finish fourth.

The hosts took the lead just four minutes in when Torres curled a free-kick into the box, going as far as Le Normand who nodded the ball home at the back post.

They had another great chance when Dani Carvajal broke down the right to find Gavi in the middle and the Barcelona midfielder forced a great save from Giorgi Mamardashvili, who palmed the ball away from the top corner.

Georgia brought themselves back into the game in the 10th minute when Giorgi Chakvetadze broke through and threaded a fantastic ball to Kvaratskhelia, who held off two defenders to roll the ball past Unai Simon’s outstretched leg and into the net.

Spain continued to lurk around the Georgian box and came close in the 22nd minute as Mamardashvili was forced to make a superb save at his left post from Fabian Ruiz’s in-swinging free-kick.

However, they were handed a major blow moments later though as Gavi limped off the pitch with injury and were quickly forced to clear the danger from a Georgian corner.

Another brilliant Spanish chance came in the 32nd minute when Torres’ curling low ball from the right found Alvaro Morata in the six-yard box and the Atletico Madrid forward fired first-time, but Mamardashvili denied him with a fine block.

Spain were on the attack early in the second half when Rodri fired straight at goal and they threatened again as Torres picked out the Manchester City midfielder, but Mamardashvili was able to claw the powerful header away.

They eventually earned their reward in the 55th minute when Jose Luis Gaya chipped the ball to Torres in the middle of the box, with his header bouncing past Mamardashvili into the right corner and he celebrated holding up Gavi’s shirt.

Some great play down the left saw Gaya threaten with another dangerous cross, but Morata’s resulting header was skewed wide and moments later Spain’s lead was extended when Lochoshvili headed Lamine Yamal’s cross into his own net in the 72nd minute.

Georgia were on the attack and Kvaratskhelia had a shot blocked by the Spanish defence and the hosts had another chance when Oihan Sancet volleyed over the crossbar.

The visitors had a late chance to earn a consolation at the death, but Giorgi Kochorashvili’s free-kick flew wide.

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