“We’re absolutely convinced that we can get very far”: de la Fuente as Spain march on to semi finals

Manager Luis de la Fuente praised his ‘insatiable’ squad after they saw off hosts Germany to become the first team to reach the EURO2024 semi-finals.

La Roja initially went ahead through Dani Olmo but Florian Wirtz’s late equaliser forced them to contest extra time; it was Mikel Merino who headed home in the 119th minute to break German hearts and send Spain through.

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What did Luis de la Fuente say?

De la Fuente was exuberant in his praise for his squad. “We are living an historical landmark today. I think its the first time that we get five victories in a row in a major tournament, the first time we beat a host country, so this is a historical night.

“The first difficult moment for us was Pedri’s injury – that was a hiuge blow for us, and of course Florian Wirtz’s goal at the dying moments of the game. That was a very difficult moment that we had to overcome.

“My players are insatiable. I’m proud to coach players like this. I’ve known many of them for many years. They’re used to competing at the highest level and they have an opportunity to win [the tournament]. This team are always going to compete. There’s always room for improvement, of course, but we can’t question their pride, quality and commitment.

“How far we get, we will see, but we’re absolutely convinced that we can get very far with this team.”

The game was far from uneventful, with no fewer than thirteen yellow cards – but de la Fuente had no problem with it.

“I played in the 80s – if you want to watch a video from the 80s and see how football was played back then, I don’t get scared!”

“I’ll never complain about how tough my opponent played, I value how much commitment we showed.”

The bookings do mean several players will be suspended for Spain’s semi-final, but de la Fuente said: “I will never excuse myself saying we are missing this player or we are missinfg this other player – I’m happy with all the players I have.”

De la Fuente’s connection with his team, ahving known many of them for years and at youth level, is evident. He said: “I just want to be valued by my players, and that’s the test I try to pass every day. I feel really safe by thsi group of players, I value them very much, and that is what concerns me.”

Rounding off, de la Fuente said: “Our euphoria is totally under control. We’re so happy, but we know that tomorrow is already another day. We can’t control what happens on the outside, but we’re thrilled that the country is supporting us.”

What did Dani Olmo say?

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Man of the match Dani Olmo also spoke to reporters, saying: “It was a difficult, complicated game. It went to extra time, which is also complicated, but in the end we deserved the win. We’re celebrating and enjoying the moment.

“We were not surprised at all by the intensity (Germany) showed, we know perfectly well what they were able to do… We all knew we had to play a fantastic game to beat Germany and I think we’ve done it and we need to be satisfied about it.”

On his coach de la Fuente, Olmo said: “We have a very special relationship. He trusted me when i was in coratia he called me up for the under 21s and we won – against Germany actually – and we have the opportunity to be together again in the senior national team and we’re going to go for it.

“He’s always there when you need him, he’s a natural born motivator, he keeps us all focused.”

Finally, Olmo recalled the winning goal which he assisted: “I can’t remember it too well, in truth! We were in the final third and I had a bit of space to cross the ball. I saw Joselu and Mikel Merino arriving, and Merino showed who he is. He’s a great finisher and we know he’s good with his head, so he did his job. This is probably my best night with the national team.”

Spain will face France in the semi-final after they beat Portugal on penalties late on Friday night. See how Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann reacted to their loss, and folow our comprehensive coverage of the tournament, here on FromTheSpot.