Coach Vicente Del Bosque believes
Spain have recaptured their confidence after eventually brushing aside Portugal
to book a quarter-final against Paraguay.
Running out 1-0 winners, the
pre-tournament favourites truly clicked into gear for the first time in South
Africa to wear down a stubborn defence.
“Our confidence is rising and we
want to make history,” said Del Bosque. “We know we’re working well.”
Despite a rich pedigree in the club
game, Spain have never won a World Cup. A semi-final against either Germany or
Argentina – who have won the competition five times between them – awaits,
should they overcome Paraguay in Johannesburg on Saturday at 1.30pm Cayman
That last eight match looked a
distant prospect as play resumed after half-time in Cape Town with Portugal
frustrating the European champions and Fernando Torres struggling to make an
impact as he feels his way back from a troublesome knee injury.
But a decisive move just before the
hour from Del Bosque, replacing the Liverpool striker with Atletico Bilbao’s
target man Fernando Llorente, transformed the fortunes of European champions
Within minutes of Llorente’s
arrival Spain had taken the lead through David Villa following a brilliantly
intricate passing move, after which they looked more fluid than at any point so
far during the tournament.
“The match was extremely intense,”
said Del Bosque. “In the second half, we were better than Portugal. We had
greater depth in our play, and we controlled the game very well. We felt
comfortable but you have to be careful because things can change quickly.”