Vicente del Bosque hails Spanish defence after semi-final victory

After they prevailed 4-2 on penalties over Portugal, La Roja's coach praised his side's defensive work as well as their composure despite the pressure of spot-kicks
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has said that his players are delighted to progress to the final of Euro 2012 after a 4-2 victory on penalties over Portugal in Wednesday night's last-four encounter.

In their victory, La Roja reached their third consecutive final at a major tournament, and their coach singled out praise for his defence, who held firm in the face of a number of good chances for Portugal, especially from their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.

“We can discuss that we didn't play very well, but defensively we were great, all four defenders and two defensive midfielders. We had joy with [Jesus] Navas and Pedro on the flanks," Del Bosque told Telecinco.

"We are happy, we've made an extraordinary effort in a very equal game all over 90 minutes.

“We've been the better team in extra-time. It was a controlled game, a very slow one. We are all happy because we got fantastic players, even after a hard season, they gave it their all."

Del Bosque then highlighted that all his players were eager to shoulder the spot-kick responsibilities, regardless of the pressure they would have been under.

“Everybody offered themselves to take penalties," he revealed. "Cesc got the second, but he asked for the fifth one. We wouldn't discuss that. We had great confidence in Sergio [Ramos]. The keeper was choosing one of the sides [in the shoot-out] and he did well. And Sergio's was a good effort.

“Now, it is time to rest and prepare for the final.”

Del Bosque was reluctant to say which opponent between Germany and Italy he would prefer in the final, and instead stated that his team can only worry about themselves and their own performances rather than about their rivals.

Germany face Italy on Thursday night in the second semi-final, with the decider to be played on Sunday in Kiev.