Spain coach Vicente del Bosque hailed his country's automatic qualification for next summer's FIFA World Cup finals as "an important success".
Pointing to the holders' "frugal" campaign in reaching their tenth consecutive World Cup – Spain registered just 14 goals en route to topping Group I – the 62-year-old said advancing to the Brazil showpiece "wasn't easy".
"We had difficult moments against lesser teams," the 2010 World Cup and UEFA EURO 2012 winning tactician explained following his side's 2-0 victory against Georgia at the Estadio Carlos Belmonte on Tuesday. "It cost us a lot of effort to beat tonight's opponents away from home, for example, just as it proved difficult to beat Finland.
"We were competing for progress with a powerful France team and it was [with a 1-0 win in Paris in March] that we achieved a great deal in terms of our qualifying chances. That we have now got there should make us very happy."
A second goal in as many qualifiers – and his tenth in all for Spain – from Álvaro Negredo set La Roja on their way in Albacete while Juan Mata's second-half strike sealed the points for a Spain team that finished with a three-point advantage over France.
"We have been qualifying for final tournaments for many years but you have to look on that as an important success for the [Royal Spanish Football] Federation," Del Bosque said. "This was happening long before we arrived," he added, before offering an insight into Negredo's form. "He is a striker who plays below the potential that he has. There is still a lot within that player yet to be discovered."
The Manchester City FC forward's 26th-minute strike represented the 200th goal of the Del Bosque era – and also helped Spain set a new record of 52 unbeaten World Cup qualifiers.
"I am happy to have helped the team achieve the win as the three points were massive for us," the 28-year-old Negredo said. "I appreciate the amount of playing time I am being given and I try to take advantage. It's a big success to be in the World Cup finals. It's a really positive thing and despite being favourites to advance you always need to put in the work to get there."
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