Luis Enrique has said Spain won't "gamble" by playing for a second-place finish in Thursday's final World Cup group match against Japan in the hope of avoiding a possible quarterfinal clash with favourites Brazil.
Spain won their opening game against Costa Rica 7-0 before Sunday's 1-1 draw with Germany to leave them top of Group E on four points, ahead of Japan and Costa Rica on three points, with Germany bottom of the group with one point.
The winners of the group will face the runners-up in Group F -- Morocco, Croatia or Belgium -- in the round of 16 before a quarterfinal with the winners of Group G, likely to be Brazil, or the runners-up in Group H.
"It's a great question, because we've thought about it too," Luis Enrique said in a news conference on Wednesday, when asked if finishing second in the group might be better for his side.
"But imagine we want to finish second, we get to the 90th minute and it's 0-0 in the two games, and in the 95th minute with 15 seconds left, Japan and Costa Rica both score. You gambled, and you're out.
"Or imagine Germany are 5-0 up, we're looking for a draw, and Japan score and we're out. When you're convinced that you have a very good team and you want to play seven games [to get to the final], it isn't about finishing second. We want to finish first. If we play Brazil in the quarterfinals, great, we'll play Brazil. But we won't count our chickens before they've hatched."
Spain's 7-0 win over Costa Rica -- the country's biggest ever at a World Cup -- forced them into the conversation about candidates to lift the World Cup in Qatar, before they were held to a 1-1 draw by Germany.
Five-time World Cup winners Brazil have obtained maximum points so far, beating Serbia 2-0 in their Group G opener thanks to a second-half brace from Richarlison, before Casemiro's late strike gave them a 1-0 win over Switzerland.
"Brazil are a world power, a clear favourite in any World Cup, in any year," Luis Enrique added.
"Brazil will always be among the favourites, they have a lot of individual and collective quality. Beyond that, there aren't any surprises. I look at the FIFA rankings and the majority of the favourites are in the top ten. France and Brazil have both won comfortably, they're top teams."