Spain in a slump, but still a dominating force in world football
Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal believes Spain deserved to be the new leaders of Group I following their 1-0 victory over France. Spain hasn’t been able to record their best form as of late, as a matter of fact the World Champions were about to lose entry in the 2014 World Cup on automatic qualification before their latest victory.
Spain’s coach Vicente del Bosque is satisfied with his team’s form, but the Spaniard knows his men aren’t performing at their best. Nacho Monreal, who started in place of hamstrung first-choice Jordi Alba, admitted “it was a tough game” against France.
“It was a tough game and we had to work very hard,” Nacho Monreal said. “We played our football and we had our chances. We got a deserved win. I had been working hard so that I could make the most of an opportunity when it came. Alba's unfortunate injury opened the door for me.”
Nacho Monreal looked impressive in defense as well as in the attack. It was his cross that allowed Spain to score their lone goal through Pedro in the 58th minute of the game. Nacho Monreal claims Spain’s victory is a result of discipline. The defender said that he did only what coach Vicente del Bosque had asked him to do.
“Fortunately, as well to defend, the coach asks that we help out in attack,” Nacho Monreal continued. “And my second move up the pitch ended up in a goal.”
Spain were under-pressure of bringing good results from their battle against France because of their embarrassing 1-1 draw against Finland last Friday. Spain’s midfielder Andres Iniesta claims his team isn’t worried about what critics say against them, as he knew Spain was capable of bringing in good results when it matters.
“The team never had any doubts,” Anders Iniesta said on Telecinco. “That was all coming from outside. The game was very serious and competitive. The team stepped up to it. In a way though it is normal that people might have doubts. When there is so much success and excellence, and there is a defeat, the comments come out. We were hurting after the Finland game, and we responded well.”
Andres Iniesta also praised his Barcelona teammate Victor Valdes for making two crucial saves in each half of the game. Franck Ribery nearly drew first blood with his attempt during the first-half. Later, it was Patrice Evra who came close to scoring for France.
“The goals are very safe with Valdes,” Andres Iniesta said. “He played as he always does.”