Magnificent Spain deserve to triumph at top table

DURBAN, (Reuters) – The sheer quality of Spain’s  performance in the 1-0 win over Germany that sent the European  champions into their first World Cup final has prompted coach  Vicente del Bosque to wax lyrical over his talented team.

Managers rarely heap praise on the players before their run  at a tournament is over but Del Bosque could not resist the  chance to extol the virtues of his side after Wednesday’s  clinical performance against a shell-shocked German team.

“We played very well, both going forward and in defence,”  Del Bosque said in an interview with Spanish television.

“The players were like young wild boar,” he added. “I don’t  want to single anyone out but they have been magnificent.”

In a tense encounter, central defender Carles Puyol broke  the German resistance in the 73rd minute with a crashing header  from Xavi’s corner to set up a clash on Sunday against  Netherlands at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium.

The jubilant Spanish, who had Puyol and six other Barcelona  players in their starting lineup, became the first reigning  European champions to reach the World Cup final since West  Germany in 1982.

Del Bosque, who took over from Luis Aragones after the Euro  2008 triumph in Vienna when Spain also beat Germany 1-0, said  Wednesday’s win was rooted in the midfield talents of Xavi, Xabi  Alonso, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta.

“It’s based on the quality in the middle and around a very  well-organised team,” he told a news conference.

“When a team has structure, individual talent shines through  more easily,” he added. “We are blessed with great players and  that makes everything simpler.”

The Dutch would be just as tough an opponent as the Germans  on Sunday, Del Bosque predicted.

“We have to again demonstrate our capacity to be comfortable  on the ball,” he said. “That’s how we can win.”

He reflected on how much Spain had changed in the 3-1/2  decades since the death of dictator Francisco Franco, becoming a  more open country that deserved its place among the best teams.

“We have gone out into Europe and the world,” he said.  “There are some marvellous things in Spain and one of those is  football. We have been deprived of success for so long and now  we deserve to triumph and be at the top level.”

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