Del Bosque critical of 'sluggish' Spain

The reigning world and European champions were spared what would have been an embarrassing and confidence-sapping draw by David Silva's 84th-minute strike
 SPAIN 8 24
8 13

Spain boss Vicente del Bosque criticised his troops for a "sluggish" display against China on Sunday night but still felt that there were some positives to emerge from the 1-0 win.

The reigning world and European champions laboured for long periods in Seville but finally made the breakthrough six minutes from time, when David Silva converted Andres Iniesta's cut-back.

However, just a week before they kick off their Euro 2012 campaign against Italy, Del Bosque admitted that his side had performed well below their brilliant best.

"We were slower than usual, they left us little space and we were sluggish," the former Real Madrid coach told reporters shortly after the friendly.

"But we knew China would be a strong rival in the fight for the ball but they not only have defended well, they also fought back [on the counterattack].

"But, in the second half, we played with more people in attack and they [China] were more weary."

Del Bosque was enthused, though, by the fact that many of his Barcelona stars looked so fresh at the end of a season which only ended for them on May 25, with their Copa del Rey triumph over Athletic Bilbao.

"I am very pleased with [Gerard] Pique, Xavi, Iniesta and especially [Sergio] Busquets."

As well as Italy, Spain also have Republic of Ireland and Croatia for company in Euro 2012 Group C.

Who do you think should be International's World Player of the Week this week? Leave your nomination in the comments section of THIS article between 10.00 every Sunday and 11.00CET every Monday. We will include some of the best suggestions in our winners piece.