Spain may have been given a rather short straw in Netherlands and Chile in their World Cup draw, but that shouldn't give them cause for concern. The pressure is on the rest...
Those of us who support lowly clubs can find it difficult to imagine the fuss made over two defeats suffered by a goliath. Will this weekend's Copa offer some respite?
The Spanish league title is now so devalued as a competition, that only the open-topped bus tour is of any real value to the players involved. It is a fine, lofty viewpoint offering the chance for some to discover a night spot that has yet to be frequented. Nothing more than that. There is only one competition that Barcelona and Real Madrid truly give a flying hoot about these days, and that is the Champions League.
The last two Primera battles have been won by the club who could be bothered the most. Last year, Barcelona plodded along whilst a demotivated Real Madrid had given up by December. The season before that, it was Barcelona's moment to slump in an uncaring mess, with the Catalan club losing at both Osasuna and Getafe.
Not even the über-hyped Clásicos seem to matter that much anymore. In the previous season Barcelona failed to beat Real Madrid in either league clash and were still runaway winners. The Champions League title is what both clubs really, really want. Either would gladly finish a domestic campaign alongside Getafe in mid-table just to lift the European trophy.
This obsession is considerably stronger in the Spanish capital, though, where even a club that lives off the past as much as Real Madrid is finding it hard to keep harping on about Zinedine Zidane's winner in Glasgow in 2002. José Mourinho was supposed to deliver a tenth big European crown to the club, but missed out having made the semi-finals on three occasions. Another former Champions League-winning coach, Carlo Ancelotti, has been brought in to try and try again. It simply will not be enough for Florentino Pérez if Madrid rack up over 100 points or score 700 goals to reclaim La Liga, if that success is cancelled out by yet another European failure.
The pressure is a little lower in Barcelona due to the unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances that saw Tito Vilanova having to step down, with his role taken over by Gerardo Martino. Recent glory is still fresh enough in the memory and supporters realise that some patience may be required as the club transitions from the era of Xavi Hernández and Carles Puyol to one led by Cesc Fabregas, and whatever centre-back Barça end up buying (if any) to replace the permed prince of the Camp Nou.
Flipping a coin is as a good as any method of forecasting which side will win the Spanish league title. Real Madrid perhaps have it by a hair's breadth as they possess four functioning centre-backs and more bodies in midfield. Both teams picking up 34 or 35 victories, scoring 130 in the process would be no great shock.
Any teams capable staying within 20 points of the big two have been weakened over the summer. Atlético Madrid have lost the formidable Falcao, although they have tried to cover the absence of the Colombian with David Villa in what could be one of the best value transfers in Europe this summer. Real Sociedad, who finished in fourth last season, lost Asier Illarramendi and may well have to contend with a busy schedule should they survive a qualifier against Lyon to reach the Champions League.
Valencia have lost the goals of Roberto Soldado, whilst Málaga have been asset-stripped and left so destitute that the club cannot even tempt Niklas Bendtner to a life swanning about on the Costa Del Sol, whilst playing a bit of football in the process.
The three new clubs to La Primera replacing Deportivo, Zaragoza and Mallorca include Villarreal in their ranks. The Yellow Submarine's relegation in 2012 was due to crass incompetency and a bit of bad luck thrown in, but the east coast club are looking good for a solid top-ten finish.
Almería are a yo-yo outfit who failed to agree a new deal with the manager who won them promotion and sold the striker whose goals got them into La Primera. Elche are the third newbies, returning to Spain's top flight for the first time since 1989. Both could be set for a swift return to La Segunda.
The focus as ever will be on the battle at the top, but that is a bit of waste of energy. If the clubs and supporters themselves see the title as a nice-to-have, then no-one else should be concerned too much. Instead the battle to win what is known in Spain as "The Other League" is worth 99% of the attention. The clubs battling for third are fairly evenly matched and feeling fairly good going into the new campaign.
However, if Diego Simeone can keep up the motivation levels and handle Champions League football, then it could be Atlético Madrid coming away as the pound-for-pound moral winners of La Liga, despite being miles behind two clubs in the league table with Europe on their minds.
Tim Stannard - follow him on Twitter