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Vicente del Bosque and Laurent Blanc were in agreement that Spain's left-side pairing of Jordi Alba and Andrés Iniesta was pivotal to La Roja's 2-0 win against France. However, while Del Bosque was full of praise for his team's display, and grateful that his decision to play Cesc Fàbregas up front paid off, Blanc was left to regret the early opener that came from the flank he had specifically sought to protect.
Vicente del Bosque, Spain coach
Playing with a true forward gives you more depth but we wanted to have more continuity, to dominate and to have possession of the ball in order to create chances.
I don't think this is an unfair outcome because we were in control most of the time.
We are talking about playing with three forwards – Iniesta, Fàbregas and [David] Silva – but we needed the help of the whole team. When we talk about Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets, they are not that defensive – they know how to attack and they are exceptional players. We were really strong on the left with Jordi and Iniesta – that's where the first goal came from. Jordi Alba really played well and Iniesta always makes life very uncomfortable for the opposition defence. He really played well.
In the last phase of the game France didn't have the necessary strength but they still had [Franck] Ribéry and [Karim] Benzema. They did go forward and [Olivier] Giroud and [Samir] Nasri both came on as substitutes. They didn't decide to defend all the time and we played well as a team. We were tired at the end but that's normal. We'll have to get as much rest as we can [before Wednesday's semi-final against Portugal].
Laurent Blanc, France coach
You're never happy when you lose a game, you're always disappointed. When you go out of a European Championship you're even more disappointed. We had looked a lot at the Spanish side and we knew they were very good on the left, with Jordi Alba and Iniesta always doubling up.
The most frustrating thing is that we conceded [the first goal] on that side. That's what's infuriating; they just had one cross and they scored.
Just like they're very good on the left, we wanted to attack them up our left because we've got Franck Ribéry there and Karim likes to drift left as well. Two or three times we lacked technique when we could have put them in some difficulty. Had we gone in 0-0 at the interval – although Spain had enjoyed most of the ball – we could have caused problems for them.
Would it have been easier against Torres [instead of Fàbregas]? I don't know. Perhaps it would have allowed our central defensive pairing to focus on one player. Maybe we could have played with three centre-halves but we didn't have time to work on this. We tried to stop them on the left, win the ball back and get it to our strikers quicker than we usually do.
This Spanish side are great. We shouldn't have any shame saying they're a better side than us. I have regrets the way we conceded the opener. I think they were afraid of us – especially our forward line. My main regret is that we conceded so early in the game. We're going to analyse everything in detail in the coming days.
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