Thu, 01 Dec 2022

LISBON, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Spain coach Luis Enrique celebrated with rare euphoria after his team's qualification for the semifinals of the UEFA Nations League A on Tuesday.

After beating hosts Portugal 1-0 in Braga, Enrique stressed that there is still "one step to go to the final and win the trophy" after Spain finished runners-up last year.

"We had one objective in this challenge: to take the ball out of Portugal's possession. We achieved that goal in the first part, but without depth, without creating danger," he explained.

"In the second half we corrected, we improved, and with the arrival of the rested players, with a better physical level, we generated a continuous approach to the goal until we scored, near the end. It was decisive," said a visibly moved Enrique.

The coach also noted that it was "important not to forget the work of those who were already on the field from the beginning, which tired the opponents."

He explained the substitution of defender Hugo Guillamon to make way for Sergio Busquets at half-time, saying Guillamon's "yellow card could have made it easy for Portugal, who have great strikers."

"Both teams played their game. Portugal played in the transitions and defended well, as a block. Spain deserved to win? Football is sometimes unfair, the Portuguese may think they had enough chances to win, but we scored. The result is what matters in the end," he added.

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