MADRID — Spain wants to follow up its European Championship victory with soccer gold at the London Olympics.
The World Cup champions won an unprecedented third straight major title on Sunday after defeating Italy in the Euro 2012 in the final in Kiev, Ukraine.
That triumph in Kiev, Ukraine, is providing extra incentive for the Olympic squad.
“It would be nice to (win the games) after all they have achieved,” said Spain forward Iker Muniain on Friday as the squad prepared for the Olympics that run July 27 to Aug. 13. “We’re starting an adventure that we’re very motivated to get started on and finish with a medal.”
If Spain manages to win men’s Olympic final Aug. 11 at Wembley Stadium, it would become only the fourth team to hold both the World Cup and an Olympic title simultaneously after Uruguay, Italy and West Germany.
“We’re young and we’ll go into the competition with the same motivation as them,” said Spain goalkeeper David de Gea, adding that their triumphs put them under pressure to at least reach the Olympic final.
“They achieved something historic and there are a lot of expectations on us now but it won’t be as easy as people think,” de Gea said. “There are a lot of games, so we just have to take it game-by-game, see how strong our rivals are and hopefully get to the final.”
Spain coach Luis Milla said the Euro 2012 victory is a great source of inspiration for his players on the Olympic squad that includes three players from the winning team — Juan Mata, Javi Martinez and Jordi Alba stayed on for Poland and Ukraine.
Milla called Real Sociedad midfielder Asier Illarramendi to replace injured Barcelona player Thiago Alcantara for the games. The creative midfielder has been a regular in Barcelona’s team and had helped Spain win the European Under-21 championship last summer to qualify for the games. Milla said Illarramendi is a good replacement.
“We’ve got to change our thinking now, there are other players here now,” Milla said.
Spain’s preparations include pre-Olympics exhibitions against Senegal on July 13 and Mexico on July 18. The team will then travel to Glasgow to open its Olympic campaign against Japan July 26. Honduras and Morocco are Spain’s other opponents Group D.