'More joy is to come': Spain celebrates UEFA Nations League triumph

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente hopes his country's Nations League triumph on Sunday can spark a new winning era for La Roja.

Spain beat Croatia 5-4 on penalties after the teams were deadlocked at 0-0 following 120 minutes in Rotterdam at Feyenoord's De Kuip Stadium.

Spain had not won a trophy for over a decade since it triumphed at Euro 2012, and crashed out of the World Cup in Qatar last year in the last 16.

De la Fuente, who was a surprise appointment to replace Luis Enrique, has worked for years in youth soccer within the Spanish federation.

"I know this group very well, I have seen them win at every level," De la Fuente told a news conference. "I am happy, happy for them, the staff, I am happy for Spain. I hope we get back that hope, from (World Cup) 2010, that we are proud to represent our country."

He continued: "I know these generations very well. Obviously, winning gives you more shine, and I expect more joy to come in the future.  All projects are better constructed on a base of victory and this gives us more strength, confidence, calm. Usually this sequence repeats itself in the future, we get used to winning."

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said it was "hard" not winning the trophy, with the country still waiting for its first-ever silverware.

The central European nation finished third in World Cups 1998 and 2022, and runners-up to France in 2018.

"It's very hard for all of us after these finals, we feel sorry for not winning the trophy because of the atmosphere and everything, but we should be proud," said Dalic. "Three medals is history, a really great thing to have achieved. This shows that there is still lots of potential, we can do a lot."

Dalic also hoped captain Luka Modric did not choose to retire from international duty as had been rumored.

"Luka said he will take his own decision, that's the thing that's most fair," added the coach. "He played a great game, ran for 120 minutes, for the second time in four days. I hope he stays, he's a very important player for us."


© Agence France-Presse

1 comment about "'More joy is to come': Spain celebrates UEFA Nations League triumph".
  1. Santiago 1314, June 19, 2023 at 6:22 a.m.

    Campeones, Campeones Olé Olé Olé.!!!
    In one of the Ugliest anti-Tiki-Taka Displays ever seen.!!!
    Both Teams were So Similar, That they Neutralized each other.
    Is this what European Soccer has Deginerated Into.???

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