Del Bosque: Fatigue will not be an excuse
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Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said fatigue would be no excuse for failure in the FIFA Confederations Cup final against Brazil after his side edged a gruelling semi-final with Italy on penalties in Fortaleza.

Thursday's game, played amid stifling humidity, saw Spain prevail 7-6 in a shoot-out after 120 energy-sapping minutes failed to yield a goal, with substitute Jesus Navas netting the decisive spot-kick.

Brazil will benefit from an extra day's rest prior to Sunday's final at Rio de Janeiro's fabled Maracana, having beaten Uruguay 2-1 on Wednesday, but Del Bosque said he had no concerns about the uneven turnaround.

"I'm not looking for excuses," said Del Bosque, who has already led Spain to glory at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and the 2012 UEFA EURO.

"It shouldn't be an excuse. It's a different match. We have 72 hours, others have a bit more, but we want to put on a good show.

"Today the players put in a great effort, although it's true that they play two times a week for practically the whole year.

"They've stepped up to the mark for the national team, but we still want a little bit more. We'll see if we can do it on Sunday."

Today the players put in a great effort, although it's true that they play two times a week for practically the whole year.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque

Midfielder Juan Mata, a second-half substitute, said Spain's efforts had left them "physically diminished", and captain Iker Casillas admitted that Cesare Prandelli's side had asked them searching questions.

"They put a system in place that really complicated things for us," said the Real Madrid goalkeeper, who was voted man of the match.

"Italy were well organised, with two full-backs who attack a lot, get forward and come into the centre. I'm convinced that Brazil won't play like that.

"The whole world wanted to see a Brazil-Spain final, and in the end the two teams who are there are the ones who deserve it.

"It's basically a curtain-raiser for the World Cup (next year), and everyone who loves football will agree that it should be a great match."

Leonardo Bonucci was the only player to miss a penalty in the shoot-out, the Juventus centre-back hoisting his shot high over the bar and presenting Navas with an opportunity to send Spain into the final.

It was a symbolic outcome, as Spain's dominance of world and European football was sparked by a shoot-out victory over Italy in Vienna in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.

Systematic approach pays dividends
Looking back over Spain's five-year reign at the summit of the world game, Casillas paid tribute to a detailed coaching set-up that recently yielded success for Spain at the Under-21 European Championship.

"I think there are many people behind us who are hardly seen and who are doing a huge job," he said.

"Almost all the players have played in the youth teams and been world and European champions, and this has come together in the national team.

"And from (Luis) Aragones to Del Bosque, the (national team) coaches have told us to play football in a special way - a way that had been forgotten in Spain.

"We've played at this very high level and won titles, but I think the success also has to do with people behind the scenes.

"We have excellent coaches and are winning tournaments at lower levels, like the Under-21s."