Vicente del Bosque took a little dig at England by suggesting that France will be a tougher challenge for his Spanish team than Roy Hodgson's men.
The 2-0 defeat to Sweden denied Les Bleus the chance to win group D in the last round of games and face Italy in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 on Sunday.
England's laboured win over Ukraine saw them safely through as table toppers to avoid a showdown with the reigning European and World champions.
But Spain have never beaten France in a competitive game and Del Bosque fears a repeat of 2006 when they were dumped out of the World Cup finals when they meet on Saturday night.
"They are definitely the most difficult opponent of the three we could have ended up with," Del Bosque told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.
"They will play the way they know and try to seize the initiative. I don't expect them to play defensively, but their turn to defend will certainly come.
"Let's see what happens. The French do not suffer from any inferiority complex and neither will we."