Having won the previous two European Championships, Spain are one of the teams to beat in France this summer and Pedro, who was part of the successful side four years ago, knows the holders will need to overcome some strong opponents if they are to become the only team to lift the trophy three times in succession.
Spain’s triumph in 2008, when they beat Germany in the final thanks to a Fernando Torres goal, was the first major trophy in their history, and it triggered a wonderful period of glory as they went on to win the World Cup two years later and another Euros in 2012.
Their performance at the World Cup in 2014 was disappointing as they uncharacteristically crashed out at the group stage, but after an impressive qualification campaign for the Euros Vicente del Bosque’s side appear to be back to their best, despite a shock friendly defeat to Georgia on Tuesday.
‘Confidence is high and the team have been doing well,’ says Pedro. ‘All the players are focused on the tournament and winning the cup but there are a lot of other strong teams such as England, Belgium and France, who are playing at home, so it will be difficult.
‘It’s a tough group. Our first match is against Czech Republic but at the group stage the most important thing is to take it game by game and make sure you qualify.’
Pedro featured regularly as Spain successfully defended their crown four years ago and played over half an hour of their 4-0 final win against Italy.
‘The best memories are obviously from the final, going up to lift the trophy with your team-mates, it was an amazing feeling,’ he recalls.
‘It was fantastic for Spain and to have won two European Championships, as well as the World Cup, in a short period of time was unbelievable.’
Victims of their own success in recent years, Pedro admits there is now a huge sense of expectancy back home when Spain take part in a major tournament.
‘Yes, there is big pressure for us to win,’ he adds. ‘That’s normal but we just need to focus on the tournament and each game when it comes along. We have had time to prepare but the Euros are always very difficult to win.
‘It will be tough but I hope we can have a good tournament. We have a very strong national team.’
Pedro’s Chelsea team-mates Cesc Fabregas and Cesar Azpilicueta have also been selected in a squad which possesses a balanced blend of youth and experience.
Having been part of the teams which won the Euros four years ago and the World Cup in 2010, Pedro is naturally regarded as one of the more senior players.
‘We have young players of very high quality and they have mixed well with the more senior players,’ explains the Chelsea winger. ‘The atmosphere in the changing room is perfect and it’s very good to have competition for places.
‘I enjoy the responsibility I have in the team. There is always pressure going into these big tournaments but as players it’s fantastic to be involved in the competition.’
- Spain fixtures (kick offs UK times):
Monday 13 June: Spain v Czech Republic at 2pm
Friday 17 June: Spain v Turkey at 8pm
Tuesday 21 June: Croatia v Spain at 8pm
- Interview by ChelseaFC.com
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