Spain and Germany will have different objectives when they play a friendly in Vigo on Tuesday in the first meeting between the European heavyweights since Spain’s 1-0 win in the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup.
Vicente del Bosque’s new-look side will want to show they have put their failed title defence at the 2014 World Cup firmly behind them and some fresh faces coming through will be keen to impress.
Germany, meanwhile, are looking to finish off a stellar year in style after they claimed Spain’s global crown with July’s 1-0 win against Argentina in the World Cup final, their fourth triumph at soccer’s international showpiece.
Del Bosque is in the process of integrating a new generation following the retirement from internationals of stalwarts like Xavi, Xabi Alonso and David Villa as the European champions prepare for a tilt at a third straight continental title in France in two years’ time.
The hopes of La Roja now rest with players including midfielders Koke and Isco and forward Paco Alcacer, and there is a particular buzz around Isco after he scored a brilliant goal in Saturday’s 3-0 win at home to Belarus in Euro 2016 qualification Group C.
The squad still has plenty of hardened campaigners who have won every major title in the game and one of the most experienced, Sergio Ramos, said after the Belarus match the future was bright.
“The team is gelling more and more as time goes by,” Ramos told reporters.
“There will be better performances and worse performances but the new generation is pushing hard,” added the Real Madrid centre back.
“They are lads with little experience but a lot of desire and ambition. We can be positive about this national team.”
Germany coach Joachim Loew has insisted he and his players are not looking to avenge defeats to Spain in the final of Euro 2008 and in the last four at the 2010 World Cup.
“We want to end the year by showing once again what we are capable of and if possible win the match,” Loew said on Saturday.
“But it is certainly not about revenge for previous games we lost in 2008 or 2010,” he added. “That is not an issue for either team. We are missing a few players and the Spanish too.”