Del Bosque: We’re only athletes

Vicente del Bosque has defended Spain’s friendly with Equatorial Guinea, focusing on the worth it and facing South Africa has ahead of the World Cup.

La Roja have faced increasing criticism from human rights groups and the world media for organising and international friendly against Equatorial Guinea for this Saturday, due to the country’s political leadership under President Teodoro Obiang.

“We are only athletes and we do not come here for prestige nor to overthrow anyone nor anything else, we have come to play football in total freedom,” defended Del Bosque to reporters in Malabo

“Recently there has always been something that prevents us from enjoying this national team, there is always something going on where we are going or what we are doing.

“We have seen them play two games in World Cup qualifying. They are a team with their limitations, but with some good things that can make life difficult.

“They are well organised, focus their football on the wing, they pressurise well, they will face us without fear. They will want to complicate life and win.

“Defeat tomorrow? In a game it is possible and we will prepare for it not to happen. Every national team is getting better organised every day, we are preparing so that they do not succeed.”

Speculation is that Del Bosque will play the perceived first-choice players against South Africa and the reserves against Equatorial Guinea.

“Here we have 23 players, anyone can play, there are no first and second team players. These two games are very important to us.

“We have to give importance to every game, we have an added responsibility with recent successes. There is nothing better than respecting the opponent. We do not give more importance to one or the other.

“For everything these games are valuable. It is for being together, restoring the coexistence and cordiality, for the new faces to feel comfortable too.

“We want to arrive at the World Cup in the best conditions. Our style of play is not going to change, but we will enhance it.”

Del Bosque was asked of Spain’s increasing number of absences through injury.

“We have players spare. We have many strikers and defenders. At full-back there are more to come. We are without Alba, whilst there is Montoya and Carvajal too.

“In the centre of defence there is Ramos and Albiol, we are without Pique but have two new defenders that have come in Inigo Martinez and Bartra, who are the future of the team.

“We had not called Bartra at first because we were thinking of Javi Martinez as a centre-back, but Cesc’s injury pushed us to bring Bartra and give experience to him.

“In this squad experiments are very difficult because the demand is very high.

“Was Diego Costa’s withdrawal a setback? Yes, if one drops out through injury then it is unfortunate.

“We had the idea of working with Diego. It is a longer term solution, not only for November, we hope to work something out.”

Tags Del Bosque Equatorial Guinea Spain