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'Great performance' completes Spain's goal

Published: Saturday 4 February 2012, 17.15CET
"Mission accomplished," was Spain coach José Venancio López's reaction to an impressive 4-1 defeat of Ukraine which means their opponents will have to switch to Split for their quarter-final.
by Gonzalo Aguado, Paul Saffer & Nuno Tavares
from Arena Zagreb
'Great performance' completes Spain's goal
Rafael Usín earned special praise from the Spain coach ©Action Images
 

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Published: Saturday 4 February 2012, 17.15CET

'Great performance' completes Spain's goal

"Mission accomplished," was Spain coach José Venancio López's reaction to an impressive 4-1 defeat of Ukraine which means their opponents will have to switch to Split for their quarter-final.

José Venancio López, Spain coach
Mission accomplished. We put on a great performance, especially in the first half. Today we were calmer, playing a lot smarter. Ukraine let us play more comfortably than Slovenia. Today we had a great first half and we did not stop playing. We defended very well. In the second half we weren't hitting the target, because we may have had more opportunities than in the first. But overall we had a great game.

The bad news is the return of Álvaro's injury. Let's wait for the tests to see what happens, but it does not look good. After Fernandao's injury we are left only with Rafael Usín as pivot, and today he had a great game. He is very important to our game, I'm glad he recovered from his injury.

We wanted to come top to avoid having to travel to Split. We're used to this environment, and that motivates us. Now every game is life or death, and that is when we must be vigilant. We cannot fail, because we would go home.

Rafael Usín, Spain double goalscorer
Our goal was to be first in the group. We knew we were going to play two very difficult matches, but today we put on a complete performance. We have made them seem a small team. They had no choice. It is an honour for me to be here. I was unlucky to pick up a yellow card in the first game and I did not play well. Today I was in from the beginning and tried to help the team. We go from a low to a high, it is difficult to start but now comes the most beautiful part.

Luis Amado, Spain goalkeeper
Our goal is to win every game. It is clear that coming top is important, but I repeat that our goal is to win every game. We expected a trickier game but that is credit to us because we didn't let them play. We played very well and we pushed hard. Today we confirmed our progression with a great game. We are going from strength to strength.

Gennadiy Lysenchuk, Ukraine coach
There are several reasons for our defeat. Two days ago we had a very tough match against Slovenia, we really wanted to win that game. But as a result of that match we picked up injuries to players, and that affected us against Spain, and the other players were unable to recover quickly enough from that match. Spain had two days extra to recover, but that is not the main reason for our defeat.

Spain are the strongest team in Europe and the world, and we would like to congratulate them. We would like to play Spain again in the final and we will give everything we can to achieve it. We understand it will be hard but we will do our best. Tomorrow we are going to Split but I think we will be back in Zagreb [for the semi-finals].

Yevgen Rogachov, Ukraine forward
We lost, it's true, but the result was not very bad for us. We did our best on the pitch and I think we played quite well but Spain were just too strong today. We always try to learn from these matches against great teams so we can improve and today it was another lesson for our team. We tried to play our system but it just didn't work.

We made a huge mistake which led to Spain's first goal but after that we reacted well and tried to go forward in search for an equaliser. Unfortunately we were not able to score a goal and Spain pegged us back with three more goals before the break. After that we knew it was going to be very tough to get back into the game.

Valeriy Legchanov, Ukraine captain
It was terrible for us to concede a goal so early in the match and after that those three goals before the break ended our hopes of coming away with a positive result. It was definitely not a good day for us. We all know Spain are the best team in Europe. We are still not at their level but we are working hard to get there. Maybe we will meet them again in the final of the competition and we can avenge this defeat.

Last updated: 07/12/12 10.15CET

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