Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has warned that his side still have work to do to reach the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, despite a 5-0 win over Belgium which extended their 100 per cent record in Group 5 of European Zone qualifying.
Spain made it seven wins out of seven on the road to South Africa 2010 after thrashing Belgium in La Coruna on Saturday 5 September. However, they are still not assured of a place at next year's finals given that closest challengers Bosnia-Herzegovina are six points behind with three games remaining. Indeed, the last of those matches has Spain travelling to Bosnia-Herzegovina in the final round of group fixtures, and Del Bosque will be hoping his side have their FIFA World Cup ticket booked well before that game.
"It's a pity that after seven wins in seven encounters we still aren't qualified, and that's largely because of the pressure from Bosnia, who have won again," said Del Bosque. "We need to continue pushing on, because there are still four points needed to be mathematically sure of going through. We cannot take anything for granted until we've achieved it."
We need to continue pushing on, because there are still four points needed to be mathematically sure of going through.
That said, such was the manner of Spain's performance against Belgium, the European champions should have no problem reaching South Africa and will be among the favourites to go all the way. And Saturday's emphatic five-goal win could have been much greater, with a hugely impressive Spain side denied by the woodwork, some great goalkeeping and some indifferent finishing. David Villa also missed a first-half penalty.
In the end, two goals from Valencia duo Villa and David Silva - plus another from Gerard Pique - gave Spain the spoils and earned Del Bosque his 16th win in 17 games since he replaced Luis Aragones after UEFA EURO 2008. "The team are carrying on the momentum from the European Championship which they won a year ago. We've played very well, with brilliant moments, against a good opponent who we've overcome with our quality and speed," said Del Bosque.
Spain are next in action against Estonia in Merida on Wednesday, when they could secure qualification to South Africa 2010 depending on the outcome of that game and Bosnia-Herzegovina's tricky home fixture against Turkey. Del Bosque is hoping the fans in Merida will give his side the same sort of support they received in La Coruna this weekend, and that his players can respond with a similar performance.
"I hope we can enjoy it again. The fans here at the Riazor were magnificent, sensational and extraordinary from the moment we arrived - both in quantity and quality," he said.