Spain captain Iker Casillas knows Republic of Ireland will be no pushovers as Giovanni Trapattoni's men fight for their Euro 2012 lives.
After a fairly miserable defeat by Croatia in their opening game in Group C of this summer's finals, another loss would end Ireland's hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
The 3-1 setback last Sunday was Ireland's first defeat in 14 matches and they have been criticised for a lacklustre display and what were perceived to be negative tactics.
A showdown with Spain, the world champions and defending kings of Europe, in Gdansk on Thursday is therefore far from ideal and leaves Trapattoni's squad facing an uphill battle.
But Real Madrid's legendary goalkeeper, Casillas, is not expecting an easy ride, as he said in association with adidas: "Our second game against Ireland will be a tough game.
"We expect the Irish players to make it very tight and for the midfield area of the pitch to be very packed.
"Our game plan will remain the same but we will need our players to work hard to create space and chances."
Spain are attempting to become the first nation in history to win back-to-back European Championships at the same time as holding the World Cup but they have also been under scrutiny
After failing to reach their own exacting high standards in their 1-1 draw with Italy, Vicente del Bosque's surprise decision not to start with a recognised striker has been questioned.
With a team containing six midfielders, Spain dominated 60 per cent of possession against Italy but lacked a real cutting edge and have consequently been criticised.
Casillas, though, is not overly concerned and he knows a position at the peak of world football means Spain are always going to be under pressure.
"When it comes to Euro 2012, the expectation will be high and other teams know how we play now so we have to work even harder than ever to win," said the most capped player in Spain's history.
"However, if we do win, we will be absolutely delighted. Winning three international championships in a row is something no-one has achieved.
"We have a chance to do it but we know it will not be easy."
Iker Casillas wears the adidas Predator Lethal Zones which have five super-light (SL) rubber and memory foam 3-D zones, each designed to support perfect ball control. Visit www.adidas.com/football