Pique: Defence the key for La Roja

Spain centre-back Gerard Pique believes the key to his country retaining their European championship crown lies in defence.

The Spaniards take on Croatia in Bordeaux on Tuesday night, and Pique is hoping to add further clean sheets in the rest of the competition to the ones achieved in the Group D victories over the Czech Republic and Turkey.

“It’s obvious we are a very attacking team but we also have a very organised structure behind, with players such as [Sergio] Ramos and [Sergio] Busquets, as well as the goalkeepers,” he told a Press conference.

“Before we had Iker [Casillas] and now it seems to be [David] De Gea. They are basic pillars for us to maintain the defensive level we have shown in the last few championships, with the exception of the 2014 World Cup.”

Pique hopes the Croatian fans behave at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux and that there is no repeat of the violence and letting off of flares that marred the 2-2 draw with the Czechs this week.

“We understand that football is a spectacle for the fans and we can’t accept any kind of violence.

“I hope they respect the game, the players, and all the supporters who come to watch and enjoy football.

“You’ve got to think of the families and children, so these incidents must not be repeated,” he affirmed.

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