Iker Casillas said Gerard Pique will provide sufficient cover for absent defender Carles Puyol, in their Euro 2012 semi-final with Portugal.The European and world champions were dealt a huge blow prior to the tournament, as the Barcelona centre-back Puyol was ruled out of the tournament in Poland and Ukraine after undergoing surgery on a knee problem.

Despite missing their most experienced defender, Spain have conceded only once so far in four matches at the Euros, and Casillas said Gerard Pique will be able to restrict the likes of in-form Cristiano Ronaldo when the two sides clash in Donetsk on Wednesday.

"Puyol's absence? Pique has always done very well, both at Barca, and in the Spain national team," Casillas told Punto Radio.

Casillas added that his side's expectations had lifted considerably from the continental event four years ago.

"In 2008, we arrived at the Euros in a completely different way," he said.

"It was said that we were amongst the favourites, but not that we could win the title.

"Back then, drawing with Italy was something phenomenal, while nowadays it seems like a defeat."

Spain are tipped as favourites for the match against Portugal, but Casillas is not taking a spot in the final for granted.

"We have the experience of some painful defeats when we did not deserved to lose," he said.

"Every match is different and sometimes the ball will not go in, and you find yourself on the back foot with one simple action. We must play our game."

On his 12-year stint representing his nation, Casillas added that there had been several alterations to the team over the journey.

"When I arrived, my role was different," he said.

"I was looking, listening, learning.

"Now I am one of the most experienced players. I have shared the dressing room with Spanish legends, but you also learn with the youngsters, who arrived with their future ahead of them.

"I prefer to be remembered by my character than by the titles I have won."