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Thursday, October 11, 2012
Mario Menezes: 'Spain better than Brazil'

ESPN.com news services

Spain's current team is superior to Brazil's and this edition of Spain compares to the Brazilian team of the '70s, Brazil coach Mano Menezes told Marca on Thursday.

"Today we are not at the level of Spain," Menezes said. "If I would try to play against Spain one-on-one I would lose and pay very dearly for sure. Really at this time, no one has been capable of maintaining their style of play against Spain."

Spain, the reigning world and European champions, host 2006 World Cup runners-up France in Madrid on Tuesday in a clash which could go a long way to deciding which of the two superpowers finishes top of Group I. Spain plays Belarus Friday (ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, 2 p.m. ET).

"I think Spain is one of the best (teams in history), along with (Brazil) of the '70s," Menezes told Marca. "They are two teams that win by making you fall in love with them as no one has done before."

Menezes said Spain is his favorite to win the 2014 World Cup.

"The defending champion is the team that puts up the standards and is the point of reference for the rest of the world," he said. "Please don't misunderstand me, because I have said already that I don't want to copy them. I can't do it. But their football raises admiration, as Brazil has in the past. You have to admit that Spain has taken away that privilege from us. They are in charge now.

"I think the best teams are those that do something different from the others, better than anyone else...and on top of that, win," he said. "And Spain has done that. Three times. Because in Brazil we have a team that marked an era and didn't win, that of '82. We are very proud of that team and we remember them as one of the greatest in history. But they didn't win."

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said his side's focus is solely on Friday's potentially tricky World Cup qualifying trip to Belarus and not on next week's showdown with France.

That Spain-France match is key for both nations, but Del Bosque is refusing to take his eye off Friday's game with Belarus where the Spanish will be looking to add to their opening victory over Georgia and move level on six points with France at the top of the group.

"Our efforts are focused on the game against Belarus, which is the most important thing right now. We will play with those players who we think are the best," Del Bosque said in the pre-match press conference.

"We know these are two difficult games which will help define our World Cup qualifying campaign, so we will have our maximum attention on them."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.




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