Spain not done turning heads

July 08, 2010|By Grahame L. Jones and Kevin Baxter, Tribune Newspapers

DURBAN, South Africa — Despite its European title, the record-tying 35-match unbeaten streak it carried into last summer and the No. 1 world ranking it had four months ago, Spain somehow manages to sneak up on people.

Vicente del Bosque, the team's unexcitable coach, promises the long-overdue recognition of others won't change Spain.

"We will try to keep our eyes wide open and not be blinded by success," he said Wednesday after a 1-0 semifinal victory over Germany.

Asked whether a win over the Netherlands in Sunday's final would be the pinnacle for his team, del Bosque demurred.

"You never know," he said. "I know there are not many things more important than a World Cup. But perhaps more things will come. It is a young team."

Notable absence: Germany clearly missed the offensive presence of 20-year-old striker Thomas Mueller, who had to sit out the semifinal after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament in the quarterfinal win over Argentina.

"It would have been different with him," German coach Joachim Loew said. "In the last games he has been a very dangerous player. He would've suited our style of play very well today."

gjones@tribune.com

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