Spain star Gerard Pique has warned his teammates to focus on their Confederations Cup semifinal against Italy, and not on who they could face in the final.
La Roja finished with maximum points from the group stage after their 3-0 win over Nigeria on Sunday, and many have predicted a final showdown against Brazil, which takes on Uruguay in the last four on Wednesday after also winning all three of its opening games.
But Pique insists his side must only concentrate on overcoming Cesare Prandelli's side in its next game, claiming that premature thoughts of the final could see a replica of the team's 2009 semifinal defeat to USA.
"Let's not talk about a potential final, it happened to us at the last Confederations Cup in 2009 and we lost to the United States in the semifinals," the 26-year-old told reporters. "Let's talk about the game that comes next against Italy.
"They won the first two games and lost to Brazil but they played hard at all times."
The center back also spoke about the effect the high temperatures at the Estadio Castelao had had on he and his teammates, after Vicente del Bosque admitted his side suffered in the conditions in Fortaleza.
"The pitch was in good condition and that helped us, but it's true that the heat was more intense," said the Barcelona man. "It's been a good day for us to get used to it."
The tournament has been marred by anti-government protests outside stadiums in Brazil, with fatalities already confirmed following violent clashes between police and civilians in the past week.
Pique, however, claims his side has largely been shielded from the problems off the pitch.
"We're not too aware of it [the protests], we're always in the hotel and being shuttled around," he added.
"When we're in the bus we see them sometimes protesting and saying what they think. We hope that our football is something they enjoy regardless."
- Sports & Recreation
- Cesare Prandelli