Belfast Telegraph

Vicente Del Bosque stays defiant as Spain labour to opening triumph

Spain 1 - Czech Republic 0

By Glenn Moore

After winning a tournament opening game at the third attempt Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque was in no mood to accept criticism of his team's performance.

The defending back-to-back champions required a very late winner from Gerard Pique to see off a dogged Czech side but Del Bosque insisted: "We created a lot of chances, that is the important thing. We had the game completely under control and that is the important thing.

"Everything wants to score more goals but we have not been too bad these last few years, playing this style.

Andres Iniesta, by some distance the man of the match, said: "This is not the first time we have had this kind of match, against a team defending deep, it means they have a lot of respect for how we play the game.

"There is not a set way to break down such teams, you have to be calm, keep going forward until you achieve what you want. Running 90 minutes after the ball makes you very tired - it is difficult to keep going like that, so we need to be patient."

Pavel Vrba, the Czech coach, said: "We played like that because it is the Spanish.

"They are another level to us, but we hope not to defend so much against the other teams.

"We hope to get four points from the other two matches [against Croatia and Turkey].We gave everything."

Del Bosque added: "I think it has been an even tournament.

"There has only been one game with a lot of goals [aside from Germany's 2-0 win over Ukraine all matches to date had been settled by one goal].

"This shows how even the teams are. We have three points. Now we want to go as far as possible." Spain are now unbeaten in their last 13 Euro finals games, since a 1-0 loss to Portugal in 2004.

Spain: De Gea, Juanfran, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Fabregas (Thiago 70), Busquets, Iniesta, Silva, Morata (Aduriz 62), Nolito (Pedro 82).

Subs not used: Casillas, Azpilicueta, Bartra, Koke, Lucas, Bellerin, San Jose, Bruno, Sergio Rico.

Goals: Pique 87.

Czech Republic: Cech, Kaderabek,Sivok, Hubnik, Limbersky, Darida, Plasil, Gebre Selassie (Sural 86), Rosicky (Pavelka 88), Krejci, Necid (Lafata 75).

Subs not used: Vaclik, Kadlec, Dockal, Pudil, Skoda, Kolar, Skalak, Koubek.

Booked: Limbersky.

Possession: Spain 72%, Czech Rep 28%

Shots: Spain 18, Czech Rep 6

Shots on target: Spain 5, Czech Rep 3

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland).



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