Spain manager Vicente del Bosque has praised the performance of Iker Casillias after the Real Madrid shotstopper played a key role in the 1-0 win against Croatia last night.
Spain ensured their place in the quarter finals of Euro 2012 with the nervy 1-0 win over their Group C rivals in Gdansk last night, with Jesus Navas ensuring three points for La Roja in the 87th minute.
Despite the Sevilla winger earning the plaudits from his team-mates for his match-winning goal, Del Bosque was keen to praise Casillas, who pulled off one exceptional save when Ivan Rakitic looked destined to score in the second half.
"We knew they weren't going to just sit back and we were expecting them to create the odd chance," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque told a news conference.
"They had an excellent opportunity but that is why Iker is there and he dealt with it very well," he added.
Croatia manager Slaven Bilic was equally fulsome in his praise for Casillas, describing the 31-year-old as ‘one of the best players of the last ten years’.
"What can we say about him? He is probably one of the best players of the past 10 years," said the 43-year-old, who is stepping down to take over at Lokomotiv Moscow after the tournament.
"He is just the leader for the team and he was a hero for them tonight," he added.
"He always knows how to react and he is so calm. Rakitic had a great clear chance and did everything well but it's not easy when you are facing Casillas."
The win over Croatia ensured Spain finished on top of Group C, and they will now face either England or France in the quarter-finals.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms