The manager of Spain's national soccer team says it will be an honor for the squad to try to defend its World Cup title this summer in Brazil.
"Who would have thought a few years ago!" Vicente Del Bosque said in an interview published Wednesday on FIFA's Web site.
"They've been the fathers of soccer and it's an honor for us to go (there) and defend the world championship title" Spain won in 2010 in South Africa, the head coach said.
Speaking of that challenge, Del Bosque said it was still "in the realm of dreams" and sought to lower the expectations of the Iberian nation's fan base.
"Spain had a pessimistic soccer culture, because we'd never gone past the quarterfinals," Del Bosque said. "In just a few years, we've going to the other side with exaggerated optimism at times."
"In the era of (Portugal's) Cristiano Ronaldo and (Argentine) Lionel Messi," Spain won the 2010 World Cup and has been champions of Europe twice, Del Bosque noted, saying the midfield play of FC Barcelona stars Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets and Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso had played a big role in that success.
"In soccer terms, we've maintained our style of play, which has the stamp of our great midfielders; and off the field we've been able to maintain and strengthen the good relationships among them," the coach said.
"That's important in achieving success."
Del Bosque urged his players to look ahead and not rest on their laurels and also stressed that Spain is always looking to incorporate young talent into its squad.
"We've worked with a stable nucleus of players, but we've expanded it quite a bit."
More than 50 percent of the team that won the Euro 2008 has been replaced because that's how life goes. It's inevitable. We're prepared for future changings of the guard." EFE