Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque hailed the all-round brilliance of match-winner David Villa after the forward's goal secured a 1-0 win over Portugal to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.
Del Bosque's side now move on to face Paraguay in the last eight after an excellent performance in Cape Town which was only rewarded when Villa found the net in the second half.
"David scored that goal which was enough for us to qualify," Del Bosque said. "But I shoulder underline the great work he has done because he's also contributed in other ways, for example defensively. That was extremely important."
He added: "There are three areas a team has to dominate to win. We controlled the ball, had depth to our game and a solid defence as well.
"But otherwise I wouldn't say anything negative about Portugal. They were very good on the attack, but we have very good defenders. They've done a fantastic job."
Del Bosque's side dominated on the ball as usual but had been frustrated for long periods by Portugal, who had decent chances of their own at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium.
Ultimately Spain's patience paid off, however, as Villa's 63rd-minute goal secured victory exactly two years to the day since their European triumph in Austria.
They will now fancy themselves in a quarter-final clash with modest South Americans Paraguay while Portugal - who had Ricardo Costa dismissed in the final minute - face a disappointing trip home.
Portugal boss Carlos Queiroz was gracious in defeat.
"Our time at this World Cup is now over," he said. "Congratulations to the Spanish team, we wish they have success until the end of the World Cup. Everyone saw it was an extremely difficult game for us. Generally, it must be recognised that Spain moved the ball extremely well and had a greater degree of possession."