Spain are victims of their own success,have become a target for unjustified criticism and people have perhaps forgotten to appreciate what they have,coach Vicente del Bosque and midfielder Andres Iniesta said on Tuesday. The world and European champions turned in a below-par performance to edge out Croatia on Monday,prompting renewed attacks on Del Bosques tactics in Spanish media despite the team reaching the last eight as Group C winners.
The debate has centered around whether Fernando Torres should lead the line or whether Spain should forego a recognised striker and deploy Cesc Fabregas as a roving forward. Fabregas scored the equaliser to rescue a 1-1 draw with Italy in the opening game.
Torres started against Ireland and scored twice in a 4-0 success before making way for Fabregas but was largely ineffective against the well-organised Croats and was replaced by goalscorer Jesus Navas in the 61st minute.
Del Bosque said he accepted that people did not always agree with his tactical decisions but said he had no reason to change the way Spain play.
Perhaps expectations are so high now that people will never be satisfied, the 61-year-old told a news conference at Spains training base in Gniewino,northern Poland. We have gone from poor to rich so quickly that maybe people dont value what they have, he added. We appear to be in a period of extremism,of either good or bad,and there doesnt seem to be any middle ground. Football will decide and put us where we deserve to be.
Iniesta,who was man of the match in the Croatia game thanks to his assist for Navass goal,said the team welcomed criticism as long as it was constructive. You have to remember that when you win all the time its hard to maintain the same level, added the man who netted the winner in the 2010 World Cup final against the Netherlands.
Keeping a winning streak going is hard and gets harder all the time,to constantly exceed our past achievements. But thats what we are fighting for and thats why we are in the national team. Spain is not a team that does not have difficulties or moments of doubt. All I can say is that the team is playing well and we are still in the fight.