Del Bosque: Spanish yet to show true spirit
Friday 18 June 2010
The Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is confident his team's "true personality" will emerge in the final two group matches as they look to revive their World Cup campaign after an opening defeat to Switzerland on Wednesday.
The European champions were supposed to be the Spanish squad that finally fulfilled their potential at football's international showpiece after decades of sides that flattered to deceive.
However, their much-vaunted midfield and attack were neutralised by a solid Swiss defence, they conceded a scrappy goal and will now potentially face a second-round encounter with five-times champions Brazil.
"This is of course not a good sign that we started off this way," Del Bosque said. "I think our obligation is to cope with this situation and to face the next two matches by trying to win.
"This is our spirit and this will be our line for the next matches."
Spain play Honduras in Johannesburg on 21 June before rounding out their Group H campaign against Chile in Pretoria four days later.
Del Bosque said the Swiss defeat was no cause for Spain to abandon the style of play that won them Euro 2008 and saw them lose just two matches in more than three and a half years.
"We have come so far playing in a certain way," he said. "I would certainly not want to put anyone down and would simply say that we may not have shown our true personality as a team. We will do that certainly in the next two matches."
The good news for Spain is that all of their talented squad are fit, even if they could do with some shooting practice after missing a string of chances against the Swiss.
"We have a margin of error and we have used it up now," David Villa, who started Wednesday's match as a lone striker, said. "That's football. The team that has the most chances doesn't always win. There's no way we are going to throw in the towel. We have to keep working and the fans should still believe in us."
At least the Spaniards no longer have to deal with questions about being tournament favourites with Brazil having replaced them with odds of 4-1 to win the final on 11 July.
"Playing your first match at a World Cup is always hard," goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas said. "All the more so when you are tagged as favourites."
Villa remains confident his Spain will progress to the last 16. "We are annoyed by the result," he said. "We dominated possession and we were the better team. But this is football, and not always the best team wins."
"We are aware that the tournament has only just begun," the 28-year-old said. "We would have preferred to have had everything going in our favour but this is a World Cup and nothing is as easy as it seems. Nevertheless, we are convinced that we will go through to the next round."
Villa believes that Wednesday's game was almost identical to the game when Spain were defeated 2-0 by the United States in the Confederations Cup last summer. "It was a copycat from that semi-finals of the Confederations Cup," he said. "The only difference is that we are not going home."
The Barça striker does not expect a big change in the European champions' tactics for the remaining two group games.
"With this style of play, we have only lost two games," he said. "We need to continue to play the same. We are not going to change our style just because of this defeat. It has been down to our play that we have achieved success in the past."
The Switzerland coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, hopes that his team's historic triumph will mark the beginning of something great. "We have much more to come," he said. "We have to build on this performance in our next two games if we want to progress to the last 16."
Hitzfeld admitted that the Swiss never expected to beat Spain, and wants his side to show the same spirit and determination in their remaining group games. "The win against Spain was exactly what we needed," he said. "It was three unexpected points but we gladly take them. However, Chile is just as difficult as Spain is and we must play with the same determination."
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