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Spain coach Del Bosque concedes: We never had it so tough

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque admits they were lucky to see off Paraguay in last night's World Cup quarterfinal. David Villa's late goal - after both sides had missed penalties - secured victory over a brave Paraguay team who had matched the European champions all the way.

Spain are in the semi-finals for the first time ever - not since 1950, where they were part of a four-team final group, have they had such an opportunity to go all the way.

Del Bosque admitted that Spain's passing game had been disrupted by the South Americans but he remains confident of overcoming Germany on Wednesday.

He said: "It has been a very tough, very uncomfortable match but this is what we expected - they didn't let us play our game.

"In my time a Spanish side never felt so uncomfortable or passed the ball so inaccurately.

"But now it's an absolutely marvellous moment for Spanish football and our game is at the very top.

"We didn't play a terribly good match today but we are happy and we know we have the necessary resources to face any rival including Germany.

"It's a great moment for Spanish football. We beat Germany in the final of the Euros but they are among the elite teams and I think that speaks volumes for European football."

Del Bosque also paid tribute to Spain's keeper Iker Casillas and to Villa, who is now the tournament's leading scorer with five goals and, on 43 for the national team, just one behind Raul.

He added: "Casillas has been extraordinary and he made two magnificent stops tonight.

"Villa is at the top of his form and was right there again - perhaps we could have scored earlier but Villa had the hunger."

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Tribal Football Staff

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