World and European
champions Spain were prickly at suggestions they had
underestimated hosts Costa Rica after grabbing a face-saving 2-2
friendly draw on Tuesday that did little to enhance their
reputations as favourites for Euro 2012.
David Silva and David Villa scored in the last seven
minutes, the equaliser coming in stoppage-time, after they had
been outclassed by their opponents in the first half.
"Spain avoid ridicule in Costa Rica" Spanish daily El Pais
said on Wednesday, while the front page of sports daily Marca
had a message for coach Vicente del Bosque: "Vicente, we have a
Coming hot on the heels of a 1-0 friendly defeat against
England at Wembley on Saturday, the latest break for
internationals has had a sobering effect on Spain's hopes of
becoming the first side to retain the European crown.
"When I said before the match Costa Rica were good I wasn't
just saying it to be nice," Del Bosque told reporters.
"In the first half they were better than us, quicker and
more aggressive. It was nothing more than that. We aren't guilty
of anything. The team showed character to react even if it was
at the end."
Captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who broke Spain's
record for appearances with his 127th cap, gifted Costa Rica an
opener with an uncharacteristic error and they were 2-0 down by
"When things don't go well we are the first people to get
annoyed," Andres Iniesta, the scorer of Spain's winner in last
year's World Cup final, told reporters.
"We didn't play well in the first half but we have to take
note of the team's reaction which was positive. I hope we learn
Spain won all eight games in qualifying for Euro 2012 but
have had a patchy record in friendlies since winning the World
Cup - losing four, drawing two and winning four.
"We know [Euro 2012] will be difficult and that the rivals
will be tough," Del Bosque added.
"Being champions doesn't mean everything is already done. We
have plenty of time to think about it and make plans."
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