Curitiba, Brazil - Chelsea striker Fernando Torres believes Spain are an even better team than when they won the World Cup four years ago despite opening the defence of their title with a humiliating 5-1 thumping by the Netherlands.
“We are the same as we were a week ago, or four years ago. The team has matured with age. There is nothing to say that the team is worse, I would say it is a lot better,” said the 30-year-old.
The defeat against the Dutch was Spain's heaviest in 51 years, but Torres insisted their experience of winning three consecutive major tournaments before landing in Brazil will mean the squad's confidence is not shot when they face Chile on Wednesday.
“Psychologically we are prepared. We need to look at Chile and analyse them,” he said.
“Mentally I think the team is prepared for a situation like this. This group has gone through very good and very bad moments together. We know what we are capable of and I don’t think the psychological factor will be a problem.”
The one note of comfort for the world and European champions is that they also lost their first game in South Africa four years ago to Switzerland.
And despite calls for coach Vicente del Bosque to ring the changes and introduce younger players for the match against Chile, Torres believes their experience from 2010 should serve as reason not to panic.
“There is no reason to change our system. In South Africa we lost the first game and we kept doing the same and were champions. We have to think that this team still has a lot of football ahead of it to achieve things once more.
“There will be a lot of people that believe in this team, that we have seen lift us up in similar situations and that will be with us. Now more than ever we need to be together as a group and it is us that need to fix this situation.
“Unfortunately we have already gone through this situation, albeit not quite as hard in South Africa. We need to forget the Netherlands game and getting to the next round depends on beating Chile.
“We need to win all the games from now until the end.”
Torres was one of a number of senior players questioned after he failed to convert a glorious chance into an open goal in stoppage time, an error that could prove vital should Spain's chances of qualifying come down to goal difference.
However, the harshest criticism was saved for goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas who endured a nightmare game in which he conceded more times than in Spain's previous two tournaments combined.
Torres, though, echoed the words of Del Bosque in blaming a collective bad day rather than Casillas individually.
“The fault was of the group, not one player. It is the group that has made us champions of the world and Europe and it is the group that will win or lose in Brazil.
“You cannot point the finger at one player, it makes no sense.
“We don't need to look at anyone else but ourselves, they were our errors. We need to find solutions to the problems we had quickly because Chile play with a similar system to the Netherlands.” - Sapa-AFP