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    Expectations from Spain are too high: Xabi Alonso

    Madrid: Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso feels that his side face a tough task to win Euro 2012 due to the high expectations, but insisted that they are determined to successfully defend their title.

    The title-holders are seen as the favourites to win this summer's tournament, but the Real Madrid star believes it will be very difficult to go all the way.

    "The expectations aren't just high, but they are soaring. The bar is almost insurmountable," Xabi Alonso was quoted as saying by El Mundo Deportivo. "The expectation can weigh you down a bit, but let's just hope this won't happen."

    "Winning the title is going to be much more difficult this time than previously. However, our objective is obviously to successfully defend our title."

    Spain start Euro 2012 with the Group C match against Italy on June 10, before taking on Republic of Ireland four days later, and Croatia on June 18.

    Meanwhile, Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta feels winning Euro 2012 will be the toughest task his side have had. Having won Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010, Iniesta says the team will have to step up a notch to come out on top this time around in the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

    "Everything that is in the past is always easier than what is to come," Iniesta told reporters at a promotional event. "These Euros will be much harder than the World Cup we won. This team is ready. I like to live in the present, [and consider] what lies ahead. We have a very beautiful challenge ahead, which will be a lot tougher than the previous one."