Europe : Former Spain coach Luis Aragones has warned the world champions not to underestimate Italy in their Euro 2012 opener.
Vicente del Bosque`s men enter the Group C clash on Sunday as overwhelming favourites, with the Azzurri enduring a string of problems in their build-up to the competition.
Despite a betting scandal and a deadly earthquake blighting Cesare Prandelli`s preparations, as well as a 3-0 defeat to Russia a week before the tournament began, Aragones feels Italy will be a daunting opponent.
"It will be difficult against the Azzurri. Let`s not forget they have won four World Cups," Aragones told RMC Radio.
"They are a side with important players and a strong midfield. People talk about Spain as favourites, but we must also keep a close eye on Italy."
Croatia and Republic of Ireland make up the remaining teams in Group C, and they kick off their game at 20:45CET on Sunday.
First Published: Saturday, June 09, 2012, 15:06