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1:30 AM UTC Apr 26, 2018
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Koke sees Euro as chance for Spain to usher in new era after 2014 World Cup

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke sees Euro 2016 as a chance for Spain to usher in a new era and "re-validate" the country's claim as one of the world's best footballing nations.

Koke, 24, took part in Spain's 1-1 draw with Italy on Thursday and will also be in the squad for their second friendly against Romania on Sunday.

He was also a member of the World Cup squad that failed to advance out of the group stage at the 2014 edition in Brazil, and Koke believes the Euros offer a chance to get the country back on course.

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"We did not do a good World Cup and the Euros are chance for a re-validation," the 24-year-old told a news conference on Saturday. "There has been a great generational change.

"Wearing the shirt of the national team is always beautiful and it will be a special match against Romania.

"We have the Euros close and we are very excited. All players want to be on the list and we have to give everything for the team.

"I feel comfortable in the position put to me and what excites me is to play where the coach needs me."

David De Gea may have single-handedly preserved the draw for Spain vs. Italy with a masterful showing in goal.

Meanwhile, manager Vicente del Bosque said that, while the door is still open for different players to make it into the final team, the current selection is close to what he'll bring to France for the finals this summer.

"That list is progress, it is not definitive because there are two months to go," Del Bosque told Radio Marca. "But it will not differ much from those who have come. But we have not closed the doors to anyone.

"Everyone who shows us that we can not leave them out will come with us."

Three players likely to return straight into the squad once back from injury are Barcelona's Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, as well as Arsenal's Santi Cazorla. Their return could make it hard for any up-and-coming players to break into the team before the summer.

Del Bosque insisted that whoever goes will carry the burden of responsibility of defending Spain's Euro 2012 title and trying for a third consecutive trophy in Europe's top international competition, with the team also winning it in 2008.

"We have a great responsibility and past events give you a great responsibility," Del Bosque added.

"We're here to win the European Championship and that requires more. It's a major responsibility for all that are here."


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