Del Bosque insists Spain not far below form of former glories

AFP , Sunday 29 Mar 2015

Vicente del Bosque
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque (Photo: Reuters)

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque insists his side are not as far away from the form that saw them win three consecutive major tournaments between 2008 and 2012 as their critics suggest.

The European champions' 1-0 win over Ukraine on Friday was met with a lukewarm reaction by Spanish fans and media for the lack of control and attacking intent showed by Del Bosque's men.

Indeed, the former Real Madrid boss himself admitted after the game that Spain's lacklustre second-half showing had left him with a "bad taste in his mouth."

However, he believes Spain's disastrous World Cup showing, when they were eliminated after just two games last June, has coloured the views of their current qualification campaign for Euro 2016.

"It is a logical reaction after all that happened at the World Cup in Brazil. Before we were blessed and now people focus on the bad things rather than the good," he said on Saturday.

"Everything seems worse and it is not like that. We are doing some things well. Spain aren't so far away from what they were."

The post World Cup hangover continued with a shock 2-1 defeat to Slovakia in October which has left Spain trailing the Group C leaders by three points despite winning the other four of their five qualifiers.

Del Bosque, though, is confident Spain will be amongst the contenders for the title at the championships next year in France.

"The love and interest of the fans will return with victories and good performances, but I am optimistic.

"The first objective is to qualify for the European Championships. I hope we can achieve that. We are the reigning European champions and we want to be in France to defend our title. We will get there with a team capable and ready to compete."

Spain aren't in competitive action again until June when they travel to Belarus, but they face the Netherlands in a friendly on Tuesday hoping to avenge the humiliating 5-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of the Dutch in the first game of the World Cup.

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