Euro champs lead Group 5

Del Bosque cautious despite another Spain win

April 2, 2009

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque insists the race to finish top of their World Cup qualifying group is still open - even though his all-conquering side boast a 100% record from their six matches so far and a six-point lead over the rest of the field.

The European champions continued their remarkable run of success in Group Five with a comeback victory over Turkey in Istanbul last night, Albert Riera sealing a 2-1 win in injury-time.

That victory saw Spain stretch their unbeaten record to 31 matches and equal the national record set under Javier Clemente in the 1990s, and it also allowed them to maintain their stranglehold on their pool.

In second place are Bosnia-Herzegovina, while Euro 2008 semi-finalists Turkey, who were considered by many to be Spain's biggest threat in the pool, are now 10 points adrift in third after losing both matches in their double-header against Del Bosque's men.

With only four games remaining, Spain are holding all the aces in the race to reach the World Cup finals, but Del Bosque has warned his side that there is still work to be done.

"We have the threat of Bosnia, who are six points behind. The group remains open, there are still 12 points to play for," Del Bosque said.

Despite his reluctance to look too far ahead, Del Bosque was inevitably quizzed about his in-form side's chances of adding the World Cup crown to their Euro 2008 title if, as expected, they make it to South Africa next year.

He said: "We have to recognise that Spain are one of the best teams in the world. There is no difference between the players on the pitch and those who are on the bench. They change positions and you don't notice. They are truly great.

"With regards to the World Cup title we have to look at Brazil and Argentina, but Spain have the game and the luck you need to win the World Cup.

"We'll see if we can maintain this great level against these two teams."

Spain had beaten Turkey 1-0 at the Bernabeu on Saturday but they needed to do it the hard way to make it two wins from two in Istanbul after falling behind to Semih Senturk's 26th-minute opener.

The European champions fought back after the break though and Xabi Alonso levelled the scores up from the penalty spot before Riera slotted home Dani Guiza's pass in injury-time to secure the points.

Although they had it far from easy, Del Bosque felt his side were full value for the victory.

"I think that we were better and we deserved the victory. The important thing were the three points," he said.

"This reflects very positively on the players. They showed the desire to win the game.

"A draw was not bad, but the players have wanted to win. We are in good form and a great situation, and we need to take advantage of it."