POTCHEFSTROOM, SOUTH AFRICA (AP) - Spain coach Vicente del Bosque isn’t exactly known for joyous celebrations when his team scores, and his stoic behavior isn’t about to change in the World Cup final.
Del Bosque is on the verge of leading the European champions to their greatest triumph, and the low-key Spanish coach isn’t going to waste any energy by showing his emotions when there is a game to win.
“I don’t know what my reaction will be. These are spontaneous things, not prefabricated, and I take an enormous amount of satisfaction every time we score a goal,” Del Bosque told The Associated Press.
“I’m not much for showing external emotion anyway.”
And what would a World Cup triumph mean?
“It will mean we’ve achieved that what we were asked to do,” Del Bosque said. “Satisfaction, nothing more.”
The mild-mannered Del Bosque took over after Luis Aragones led Spain to the European Championship title two years ago. Although he has stuck to his predecessor’s possession-based, attacking style, that is where the similarities end.
While Aragones possessed a brash, outspoken personality and attacked players to motivate them, the 59-year-old Del Bosque cuts a more fatherly figure, with a strong work ethic and a modest command.
Aragones stalked the sideline, waving his hands above his head. Del Bosque is a quiet figure who rarely strays from Spain’s bench.
“A national team has to manage personal relations well because, if not, it’s difficult to achieve success. In that sense, we’re in good shape,” Del Bosque said. “That’s why a lot of time when the game ends I don’t seem to be so happy _ that’s because I’m thinking about the players that wanted to be on the field and couldn’t be.”
Leaving the likes of Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas on the bench is probably the cruelest part of the job, Del Bosque says, something that eats away at him.
Fabregas has perhaps been the biggest star to miss out, having played an important role in the quarterfinal win over Paraguay but little else. The Arsenal playmaker didn’t feature in the 1-0 semifinal win over Germany. David Silva has also spent much of the time watching from the bench.
“I don’t think the coach has to qualify his reasons unless they don’t work out,” said Del Bosque, who played 18 matches for Spain during a successful playing career. “The best thing is to act with justice, to treat everyone equally. These are sporting decisions and nothing more.
“They haven’t all been able to take part 100 percent like they would have liked, but it has been necessary at this World Cup. They played a big part in getting here, don’t forget.”
Having ranked his team’s dismantling of Germany as one of its best performances ever, Del Bosque is expecting a very equal contest against a Dutch team known for attacking football.
“They’re very similar to us, players of great technical ability in midfield,” Del Bosque said. “Players of great quality and very fast that don’t improvise as much as we do, but play a more dangerous direct game. A very dangerous team.”
Del Bosque doesn’t expect the Netherlands to give Spain as much space as the Germans did, although he is confident his players will adapt to whatever they face, a quality they have shown since the shocking 1-0 loss to Switzerland in their opening group match.
“The idea is to always be maturing a little in every game, and that we’ve done well,” Del Bosque said. “We’ve played very complete games.”
And while Diego Maradona and Fabio Capello of England were the high-profile coaches who dominated most of the attention coming into the tournament in South Africa, the abiding memory may be of Del Bosque, who will lead Spain until at least Euro 2012.
Del Bosque has always commanded respect from his players, but even they have been struck by his reluctance to celebrate goals, as illustrated by one episode while coaching Real Madrid.
“One day, (Nicolas) Anelka came to show me a video and asked me why I don’t celebrate his goals,” Del Bosque said. “I told him: `Nicolas, I’m not going to celebrate every goal. Yours, Raul’s goals, Roberto Carlos’ goals _ they all produced enormous joy in me. Don’t think that because I don’t celebrate yours that I feel any animosity toward you.’”
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