Del Bosque hails Soldado, talks tactics
Vicente Del Bosque has hailed the finishing prowess of Roberto Soldado after his hat-trick helped Spain to a 5-0 win over Venezuela. The Valencia striker was handed the chance to impress at the expense of Fernando Torres, who was left out of the squad due to his poor form with Chelsea, and he seized it with both hands. A half-time substitute, Soldado made it 4-0 with a quick-fire double after earlier goals from Andres Iniesta and David Silva and, despite missing a penalty, completed his treble seven minutes from time.
Del Bosque said: "I have to commend Roberto Soldado because he did what a striker should do: finish. He finished well to complete fine build-up play from Jordi Alba, Santi Cazorla and Alvaro Arbeloa, among others."
He added, perhaps with Torres in mind: "But we should not forget the contribution others have made before him and will continue to make for the national team. Soldado did well but there are still two and a half months of competition in which we will assess and analyse all options. What is certain is that those who go to the EURO will be the most deserving."
Venezuela put up little resistance and their miserable evening was compounded by the second-half dismissal of Athletic Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta.
"During the first half-hour they caused us problems but then we imposed our quality," said Del Bosque. "In the second half, when they were more open, everything was a little less complicated."
Soldado's display re-opened the debate over whether Spain are better with a figurehead in attack or the alternative 'false No9' approach, which sees a greater emphasis on attacking midfield players.
Del Bosque commented: "One of the features and advantages of this squad is that it allows many variations, all of which are valid. I think tonight we played with more than one focal point, because Silva and Iniesta were also arriving [in attacking positions]."
Soldado revels in 'dream' return
Soldado was delighted with his re-introduction into international football after a frustrating spell out of the limelight. He told the AS newspaper: "It is a dream to return to the squad this way.
"In the second half, the game became more open due to the sending-off. I'll take it although I should have scored the penalty that I missed."