Spain have shown “exceptional” growth in recent months, coach Luis de la Fuente said after his side’s 1-0 win over Norway on Sunday secured qualification for Euro 2024 in Germany.
After a round of 16 exit at the World Cup in Qatar, which resulted in Luis Enrique’s dismissal, Spain were beaten 2-0 by Scotland in March, leading to questions over De la Fuente’s future despite it being just his second game in charge.
However, since that defeat, Spain have won four straight qualifying matches, scoring 16 goals and keeping clean sheets in their last three games. They also won the Nations League in June.
“I’m happy because I think the team has grown in an exceptional way. There is a feeling of a united team, a cohesive team, a team for the future, which is what excites us the most,” De la Fuente told reporters.
“Learning is constant. You learn a lot from the not so good situations and from good ones too. But we were sure, we haven’t gone too far off script. By that, I mean we’ve corrected what needed changing and we understood what had to change.”
Clarke hails ‘phenomenal’ Scotland
Scotland coach Steve Clarke hailed the progress his side have made after they secured a berth at next year’s European Championship with two games to spare.
Spain’s 1-0 win over Norway on Sunday ensured a top-two finish for Scotland in Group A, earning them automatic qualification. Scotland have qualified for back-to-back European Championship finals for just the second time, after they played in the 1992 and 1996 editions of the tournament.
“I would like to congratulate the players for their efforts in qualifying for back-to-back tournaments,” Clarke said. “I’m not sure they will fully realise the significance of their achievement yet but to qualify for successive Euros after more than 20 years is phenomenal and testament to their hard work.”