DEL BOSQUE DELIGHT AT PROGRESS

Vicente del Bosque has congratulated his Span players for progressing to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.

Last Updated: 19/06/12 at 16:21 Post Comment

Vicente del Bosque: We did well against Croatia

Vicente del Bosque: We did well against Croatia

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Spain manager Vicente del Bosque has congratulated his players for progressing to the quarter-finals of the European Championships despite widespread criticism of their performance in the 1-0 win over Croatia on Monday.

Substitute Jesus Navas scored the winner three minutes from time to ensure that the World Champions topped Group C with seven points from their three games.

However, Del Bosque's men were on the back foot for spells throughout the game and were thankful to captain Iker Casillas for a wonderful save from Ivan Rakitic's header which, had it gone in, could have put the Croats through at Spain's expense.

The former Real Madrid boss insisted his side controlled the majority of the game and defended his decision to again play without a natural striker once Fernando Torres had been withdrawn with half an hour remaining.

He told AS: "I watched the game again last night. Everyone who has analysed it said we struggled a lot but I realised that we didn't do things so badly.

"The threat existed but I think we did things relatively well. It was a horrible game for us. The talk of fixes and pacts and that a draw suited us made it a very difficult game.

"I accept you are not in agreement with what I saw. There are distinct opinions. You always have to look at the results. Defensively, there was only Rakitic's chance and a shot from (Darijo) Srna. We didn't have penetration but that can happen in football. I think they had more difficulty than us when we had a striker and when we didn't. With Fernando (Torres) and without him there were two separate games, like the day against Italy. The Rakitic effort has left us with this sensation but I wouldn't say Croatia dominated."

Del Bosque bristled at what he appeared to deem a lack of appreciation for his side but reminded detractors the World and European champions are still very much in the running.

"We have gone from a poor man to a rich man very quickly and now we don't value anything. We don't value what we have.

"I think we are fallible and we have to transmit that to the players but we have passed through to the quarter-finals and we haven't seen any congratulations of that. I think we have qualified superbly and will continue in the same manner. The future is in our hands and we will see where we end up but I hope it is the final."

Del Bosque made a positive impact with his substitutions as he has done all tournament, Cesc Fabregas climbing off the bench to be centrally involved in the build-up to the goal.

Del Bosque accepts that the strength of his squad will mean there is always debate over who should start.

"Football is a permanent debate. We have 23 players and any of them could play," he said.

"The important thing is our group and our line-up is stable, like the principles of our play. We cannot have doubts in them.

"I am not saying I agree with everyone but in many points we agree with the people. I am not saying we are overly optimistic but we know we have a chance. We are going with this into the quarters and possibly semi-finals as serious candidates."

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