Spain coach Del Bosque defends under-fire Casillas

Spain coach Del Bosque defends under-fire Casillas

9Madrid, Oct 12 (IANS)┬áSpain coach Vicente del Bosque has defended goalkeeper Iker Casillas following a poor performance in Spain’s surprise 1-2 defeat against Slovakia in a Euro Cup qualifying match.

The 34-year-old had a poor 2014 World Cup in Brazil with key errors as Spain crashed out of the first phase of the tournament and was at fault during Spain’s loss to Slovakia Oct 9, bringing down another storm of criticism on a player who had started the season in improved form, reports Xinhua.

There have been calls for Del Bosque to drop Casillas for Manchester United’s David de Gea, but that seems unlikely to happen after the 63-year old rallied behind the under-fire keeper.

“In Iker’s most difficult moments, we have all known that he is an emblem for Spanish football,” Del Bosque said to Spanish sports paper, Marca, ahead of his side’s European Championship qualifier away to Luxembourg.

Diego Costa’s role in the side is also starting to be questioned as the Chelsea forward made his sixth appearance for his country without scoring and it seems as if his bustling style of play does not fit in with Spain’s more fluid passing game.

But Del Bosque insisted Costa was physically fit, adding: “We hope his form gets closer to what he produces for Chelsea than that which he has had for the national team.”

“We have a lot of confidence in him. He has not been a success but we have confidence in him,” said the 2010 World Cup winning coach.

Del Bosque, however admitted facing a central defensive selection problem and complained that his case is not helped by Spain’s big clubs as they tend to play with foreign central defenders.

“The fact is that we do not have a lot of central defenders and in clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia – all of those teams have foreign central defenders in their ranks. It is a reality and it is hard for us to find defenders,” he said.

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