Spain coach rejects criticism of team
Vicente del Bosque has defended Spain’s style of play ahead of its European Championship semi-final with Portugal, defying critics who say its possession-based football is boring.
Spain will be just one victory away from becoming the first team since the West Germany team of the 1970s to reach three successive championship finals.
However, it has come under fire for not dazzling as it did when winning the trophy four years ago.
Del Bosque, who took over as coach after that victory and guided a more subdued Spain to its first World Cup triumph two years ago, described Wednesday’s contest with Portugal as “the most important match of our lives”.
“Let’s hope that we can continue this way going forward so that Spain stays among the elite in world football,” Del Bosque said. “We’re talking about a great era when we have used the same style for years … and which has yielded all of our achievements.”
Spain has won its last six knockout round games at major tournaments by a combined score of 7-0. Although the team is not providing eye-catching scorelines, it has shown patience and maturity to break down opponents who nearly always “park the bus”, or take a completely defensive approach.
“I would prefer if they play back in their own half, it’s a satisfaction for us to keep posession,” Del Bosque said of the Portuguese.
“They have enough players that can provide alternatives to their attack, but I would like it if they played in a defensive way because we have solutions to combat that.”© AP 2013