Sat, 18 Sep 2021

TOKYO, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Spain's coach Luis de la Fuente said Wednesday he was proud of his players after a 1-1 draw against Argentina, which booked the Spanish football team a quarterfinal tie against Cote d'Ivoire at the Tokyo Olympics.

Mikel Merino's second half goal put Spain ahead, and although Argentina leveled in the closing minutes, the Spanish side was able to hold on to qualify on top of a tight group with one win and two draws.

"As a fan, I am proud of the way the players remain true to our idea of football. And as the coach, I am proud of the way they take on board the concepts, as well as the way they behave as a group of people, supporting each other and being willing to suffer. That is what excites me and what makes them great," he said.

The coach said he was optimistic the Spanish could continue to improve as the Olympic tournament progresses.

"We are at the peak of what we have experienced so far, but we will continue to improve and the next game we will be better. I don't see a limit to this team; it improves every day; they compete and give us lessons in quality and values. That makes me optimistic the best is yet to come," explained De la Fuente.

On any weak point to the Spanish Olympic team, it is like the side that played in the recent European Championship: they dominate the ball and create chances, but fail to turn enough chances into goals.

De la Fuente accepted the criticism with conditions.

"The data shows that it is hard for us to take chances, but it also shows we are the team that gets into our rivals' areas most. It's true that at times we fail to take advantage of that, but the team is doing things very well and improving, and we will take the chances," he assured.

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