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Del Bosque relieved to beat ´tough´ Croatia

19 June 2012 09:59

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque was a happy man after his team topped Group C at Euro 2012 after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Croatia.

A late goal from substitute Jesus Navas in Gdansk was enough for the reigning European and world champions to progress to the quarter-finals ahead of second-placed Italy, and send Slaven Bilic's men out of the tournament.

The veteran manager praised his team's performance against a stubborn Croatia side, and said the impact of two second-half substitutes were instrumental in helping them to victory.

"It was a very tough match," Del Bosque said. "They (Croatia) played well defensively and gave us no space.

"Cesc Frabregas got into the game to give us some fresh oxygen, and Navas provided more for us in attack."

The World Cup-winning boss also dismissed any pre-match speculation regarding the possible 2-2 draw that would have sent Italy out.

"We've take off our back all of this mess about the draw. It was more a weight to deal with than an advantage," the 61-year-old said.

"The result would have been good for us, but maybe this (draw prediction) made us a bit confused."

Spain will now have to wait until the culmination of Group D on Tuesday night to find out who their quarter-final opponents will be.

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