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Spain could face formidable first-round

  • AP, Thursday, December 1, 2011 4:05 PM

Defending European champion Spain could be grouped with its three predecessors as European champions when the draw for next year’s tournament is made Friday.

Aiming to become the first team to successfully defend a European Championship crown, Spain could find itself in a first-round group with Greece, France and Germany next June.

“We are in a more difficult position than in 2008 -- back then we were contenders,” Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said. “Now we go as holders. We go there with an even bigger responsibility. There is a greater selection of top sides -- the Netherlands, Germany, England, Italy, France. It’s a tall order against some quality opposition.”

The co-hosts Ukraine and Poland are joined by Spain and the Netherlands as the top-seeded teams, while Euro 2008 finalist Germany, Italy, England and Russia are in the second pot. The third pot includes Euro 2004 champion Greece, Croatia, Sweden and Portugal. The fourth has France, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Ireland.

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