Del Bosque: Time for Spain to deliver
Now that the initial excitement of reaching the World Cup final has passed, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque expects his team to get down to business and leave South Africa with a victory against the Netherlands.
"The moment of euphoria passed the other day when we qualified for the final and I think we're conscious of the responsibility we have now," Del Bosque told the Associated Press in an interview. "So we want to finish this World Cup well."
Spain has won 30 of its 32 games under Del Bosque while the Netherlands is on a 25-game unbeaten run. The two teams' 10th meeting will be its first in the World Cup, with both teams winning four times.
"We're optimistic and confident in our possibilities," Del Bosque said. "But we're also aware we're up against a strong rival."
The European champions have reached their first final and the Dutch their third by sticking to an attack-minded style.
"It's an even final between two teams that deserve to be here. We've got good players but so do they," Del Bosque said from the team's training base in Potchefstroom.
"The two teams are meeting at a point where they are doing things well. Both have players of great technical ability, very creative. It's going to be great propaganda for world football."
Spain's measured performance in a 1-0 semifinal win over Germany showed it had recovered from its shocking defeat to Switzerland to open the tournament.
After winning its group, the Spanish also got 1-0 knock-out round victories over Portugal and Paraguay before their win over Germany.
"They are examples that should help us when we get to the final," Del Bosque said. "Portugal and Germany were our best games defensively speaking and in building play, so we should be aiming to improve on that. We've played very complete games."
Spain has never strayed from a possesion-based game directed by midfielders Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, and won't start now.
"At the last Euro we knew how to play to what the situation needed, we didn't always have to win by taking the initiative," said Del Bosque, who replaced Luis Aragones after Spain's 1-0 win over Germany in the Euro final two years ago. "And this team has matured. It's a complete team."
Del Bosque said he was unlikely to make many changes for the match, which could mean striker Fernando Torres may be on the bench again, with Pedro Rodriguez in the starting lineup. David Villa, who is tied for the tournament's top scorer - alongside Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder - will start.