Spain’s secret of success: Euro formula and patience
Xabi Alonso is keen to play down the sense of “euphoria” already accompanying Spain's World Cup campaign as they seek to add to their Euro 2008 triumph. Spain overcame Portugal with a narrow 1-0 victory in their last-16 clash in Cape Town but Alonso is concerned about the mentality of fans back home."We have been very patient and have been clever enough not to rush into things. We let the goal against Portugal come at the right moment, without any panicking," he said. "After the goal, we had more spaces to play our game. We are still a long way from the semis, we definitely have to ignore the euphoria in the country and the fact that people already see us playing in the semis. The next match is Paraguay and this is the only thing we have to focus on."
The coach Vicente del Bosque was similarly cautious but does believe his side are still riding the crest of a wave following their 2008 triumph. “Over the last two years we have been showing our potential,” said Del Bosque, who inherited the side from Luis Aragonés following their European success.
“It is two years since we won the Euros and that was a huge boost. We continued with the same approach as the previous coach and players. We will always continue with the lines set out two or so years ago.”
The centre-back Gerard Piqué believes the team are picking up momentum as the tournament goes on, having suffered a shocking start when they lost to Switzerland.
“In every game we’ve got better and against Portugal we played a really good game. David Villa is on fire and he scored another goal which is really good news for us,” said the Barcelona defender.
“I think we’ve got so many players with a lot of quality (and that means) you can then control the game and it’s easier to win.”