Admittedly Vicente Del Bosque has an exceptionally talented generation of players to choose from, which must make his job slightly less onerous, but Spain’s coach had already proved his worth while in charge of Real Madrid, and he has needed to use all his tact and authority to make sure that no Real/Barcelona factions are formed in the national side’s dressing room. And although La Roja were even accused of playing a tad cautiously at UEFA EURO 2012, their luminous performance in the final against Italy won over all the doubters. With two UEFA Champions League titles, a FIFA World Cup™ and now a EURO under his belt, Del Bosque’s record is second to none.
As a player Del Bosque won five Spanish league titles and four Spanish cups with Real Madrid, and was capped 18 times by his country, forming part of the Spain squad that contested the 1980 European Championships in Italy. His coaching career began with a six-year spell with Real Madrid’s reserve teams, during which time he occasionally stepped up as a caretaker first-team coach before being handed the reins on a permanent basis a few months into the 1999/2000 season.
He brought about one of their most successful periods in recent memory. In the space of four years at the club he managed to claim two UEFA Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles, winning one each season, to fully reassert their the club's European dominance that had somewhat dwindled since the 50's and 60's.
Taking charge and overseeing the development of the Galacticos side at the turn of the millennium, his role of playing conductor to a legion of the world's biggest stars was a tough one, but with the talent at his disposal also eternally enviable.
He was sacked in 2003 however, despite going out on an high with a league title win, and less an unsuccessful spell at Besiktas remained out of the limelight before taking charge of the blossoming Spain side who had just triumphed at UEFA EURO 2008.
The transition proved so seamless that La Roja did not drop a single point in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. The only blemish in their preparations for the tournament came in a shock 2-0 semi-final defeat to USA at the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009, a result they would more than make up for 12 months later.
Defeat in their opening game game against Switzerland was their only blemish in the entire campaign, putting out the likes of Portugal and Germany, which climaxed with Andres Iniesta's extra-time goal against the Netherlands sealing the nation's first ever FIFA World Cup title.
Having been victorious, del Bosque continued to demand the very highest standards from his Spain side, which sealed its place at UEFA EURO 2012 after winning all of their matches for the second qualification campaign in a row. In the meantime the unruffled coach has sought to safeguard La Roja’s future by bedding down new players, while calmly preventing the tensions generated by Real Madrid and Barcelona’s fractious rivalry from affecting relations in his squad.
A 2-1 friendly defeat by Italy was the only blemish in 2011 in which del Bosque’s side went unbeaten in their official games, ending their run to Ukraine and Poland with a perfect record of eight wins in as many games, scoring 26 goals and conceding just six.