Recife – Spain coach Vicente del Bosque criticised his players for not scoring more goals during a sublime first half against Uruguay and said profligacy caused some heart flutters at the end of their 2-1 Confederations Cup victory yesterday.
“We dominated at all times, with the exception of when we struggled and let in a goal,” Del Bosque said. “At the end of the 90 minutes, we were happy to hear the final whistle.
“We should have scored more. Maybe we were tired. Also, as a result of winning 2-0, that affects the players. They start to slow down and that is why we suffered at the end.”
Spain completely outclassed Uruguay in the first half, during which they held 78% of the possession, with Pedro and Roberto Soldado scoring goals, while Cesc Fabregas also hit the post and the world champions created numerous other chances, principally from the work by Man of the Match Andres Iniesta.
Uruguay came back into the game in the second period, but they rarely threatened Iker Casillas, and Luis Suarez’s goal in the 88th minute put a misleading complexion on the final result.
“We did almost everything well. We defended well, we recovered the ball well and we didn’t leave them many options to create,” said Del Bosque.
His Uruguayan counterpart, Oscar Tabarez, did not disagree with that assessment and looked resigned at the press conference, stating that Spain were superior at all times.
“They were well worth their victory,” Tabarez said.
“They imposed themselves on us, especially during the first half, and we didn’t have the order to regain possession when necessary.”
Tabarez said he changed things at half time to try to stymie Spain on the flanks, where Fabregas and Soldado had done much of their damage.
The first half could have been catastrophic for Uruguay, he added, and he appealed to the players’ pride for their future Group B games against African champions Nigeria and surprise Oceania champions Tahiti.
“We rescued our dignity and in the second half it was a more logical game, even though Spain continued to be superior,” he said.
Uruguay now face Nigeria in Salvador on Thursday and, with Tahiti not expected to provide much of a challenge for the other sides, Tabarez said his team’s tournament future would now depend on securing a result against the Africans.
“Our luck depends on the most important game, which is the next one, and if we do that, we can get into the final four.”
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