Del Bosque: World Football Getting Tighter
Spain boss Vicente del Bosque says the difference in standard between Europe’s traditional powers and minnows is closing after his side scraped past Georgia 1-0 in Tbilisi in 2014 World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
Roberto Soldado netted the game’s decisive goal on 86 minutes as Georgia, ranked 86th in the world, bravely held out the world and European champions, winning praise from del Bosque.
“The differences in football are getting smaller every day. We have to play a qualification campaign and we can’t think about anything other than just qualifying,” del Bosque told the Spanish Football Federation website.
He added: “I want to congratulate Georgia for their extraordinary performance. They put us in a lot of difficulty with their enthusiasm and their ability to defend all our attacks through both the centre and the wings.”
Elsewhere most of the big guns were victorious with Germany edging past neighbours Austria 2-1 with Marco Reus and Mesut Ozil on the scoresheet, while Euro 2012 finalists Italy failed to convince in their 2-0 triumph over Malta.
Portugal brushed aside Azerbaijan 3-0 although all three goals came in the final half hour, while Jeremain Lens scored twice as the resurgent Netherlands won 4-1 in Hungary, France defeated Belarus 3-1 and England were held to a 1-1 home draw with Ukraine.
Fabio Capello’s Russia won 4-0 away to Israel, Serbia hammered Wales 6-1 and Belgium and Croatia shared the points with a 1-1 draw in Brussels with Guillaume Gillet scoring a cracking goal for the hosts.
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