Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque paid tribute to his midfielders after the world and European champions continued their 100 per cent record in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying with a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic in Prague. Juan Mata's calm finish in the sixth minute put the visitors in control last night, and they doubled their lead midway through the first half as Xabi Alonso slotted home a fine cut-back from David Silva.
Del Bosque said on the Spanish federation's website, www.rfef.es: "We started very strongly and at the end we let go, but we had controlled the match. Our midfielders were able to dominate the entire game. Silva and Mata are very important players. They link up well in midfield. They had a great game."
As well as maintaining Group I winners Spain's perfect campaign, the result also kept alive Scotland's hopes of earning a play-off place. However, Spain host Craig Levein's side in Alicante in their final qualifier on Tuesday and Del Bosque has urged his team not to take their foot off the pedal. "In Alicante we will try to get maximum points and make sure the people who come to support us leave satisfied," he said.
Chelsea midfielder Mata added: "In Alicante we are going to try to be just as competitive as we have been until now, and if I play I plan to seize the moment. We are pleased with how we played, how we approached the game. We were very competitive from the start and that helped us win.
"I am very happy to have played and to have scored. Playing in this team is a pleasure. This team has a lot of quality. We always try to play football the best we can and today we played a great game. I'm enjoying a good spell. My first few weeks in London have gone very well, and also for the national team. I am very happy and just hope this moment lasts."
His club and international colleague Fernando Torres played last night but failed to end his year-long international scoring drought. Mata added: "Fernando Torres has played very well, he has tried but not been rewarded. We are all very happy with him and sure he will soon be back at his best."