Del Bosque hails Spain progress

04 July 2010 08:30

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque saluted his players for making history on Saturday night but admitted they scraped into the World Cup semi-finals by the skin of their teeth.

David Villa's late goal - after both sides had missed penalties - secured victory over a brave Paraguay team who had matched the European champions all the way.

He said: "It has been a very tough, very uncomfortable match but this is what we expected - they didn't let us play our game.

He added: "In my time a Spanish side never felt so uncomfortable or passed the ball so inaccurately. But now it's an absolutely marvellous moment for Spanish football and our game is at the very top."

Spain are in the semi-finals for the first time ever - not since 1950, where they were part of a four-team final group, have they had such an opportunity to go all the way.

Del Bosque admitted that Spain's gameplan had been disrupted by the South Americans but he remains confident of overcoming Germany on Wednesday.

"We didn't play a terribly good match but we are happy and we know we have the necessary resources to face any rival including Germany. It's a great moment for Spanish football. We beat Germany in the final of the Euros but they are among the elite teams and I think that speaks volumes for European football."

Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino said he was proud of his players but that crucial decisions had gone against them. A first-half goal by Nelson Valdez was ruled out for offside and then when Oscar Cardozo had a penalty saved, Spanish players were encroaching but no re-take was ordered.

Referring to FIFA president Sepp Blatter's apology to England and Mexico over refereeing errors last week, Martino said: "No doubt FIFA will apologise to us - so say thank you to FIFA for apologising to us.

"The dressing room is as it should be after a tremendous effort, we have played with all our heart and lost the match at the very end. We played with Spain on an equal footing but we were not lucky, it was not our night."

Source: PA