Cesar Azpilicueta calls on Spain to emulate Chelsea and turn around Euro 2020 campaign

Spain need to beat Slovakia in their final Group E match to ensure passage to the knockout stages

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Cesar Azpilicueta believes Spain can take inspiration from Chelsea's Champions League success when they face Slovakia in an "all or nothing" Euro 2020 game on Wednesday.

Chelsea turned around a season that looked to be in decline as Thomas Tuchel, appointed in January to replace the sacked Frank Lampard, led the Premier League club to the Champions League title, fourth place in the league table, and the FA Cup final.

Spain are faced with not dissimilar issues after two draws, against Sweden and Poland, in Group E leaves them in danger of failing to advance to the knockout stages.

The three-time European champions endured a challenging build-up to the tournament, with the squad forced into isolation following captain Sergio Busquets' positive coronavirus test.

However, Azpilicueta has urged his teammates to forget the past and focus on claiming a vital three points against Slovakia.

"It's not how you start, it's how you finish," the Chelsea captain said in a press conference on Monday. "I have seen it this year in the Champions League. Before January we weren't very good, and after that we did very well.

"A lot of people gave us up for dead last season, they thought we were out of the Champions League, out of the race for top four. People write you off but you never give up."

Despite his excellent form for Chelsea, Azpilicueta has rarely been favoured by Spain manager Luis Enrique and has started on the bench for both of Spain's opening two games.

"We are all fighting for places," he said. "For now, we don't know anything about the next line-up."


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Azpilicueta's experience and leadership might be a valuable addition to a youthful Spanish team, who now find themselves under pressure to make it out of what looked a straightforward group.

"We are not in the situation we expected," Azpilicueta, 31, said. "We would have liked to be more comfortable but football rarely gives you what you expect. We are alive and we depend on ourselves.

"We must be humble, self-critical and correct what we are doing wrong and also assess what we are doing well. It's a combination of the two. It's an all or nothing game so we have to approach it with the confidence that we will go through."

Luis Enrique could make changes, with Thiago Alcantara and Mikel Oyarzabal among those in contention to come in.

Busquets is also expected to return after rejoining the group on Friday following his negative Covid-19 test. The Barcelona midfielder has not played in either of Spain's first two matches.

"He's an important player, with his experience on and off the pitch," Azpilicueta said. "He's an incredible captain and we know the dominance he can bring in midfield. We're very happy he's back."