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Luis de la Fuente talks up Spain's Euro 2024 chances after Italy win

Spain boss Luis de la Fuente lauded his players after cruising into the last 16 at Euro 2024 with defeat of Italy on Thursday.

De La Fuente saw his side join hosts Germany in the knockout stage after a 1-0 victory over reigning champions Italy in Gelsenkirchen before praising the men he has at his disposal.

Asked if it was the best performance over which he had presided at his post-match press conference, he said: "Yes, I do think it is the best Spain performance I've taken charge of. We played against Italy in the Nations League and we played well there, but I think this was a more compete performance tonight.

"I will never tire, as I mentioned yesterday, of really promoting Spanish football. I think we're the best in the world in terms of interpreting various match situations, and of course that is really reinforced and strengthened when you win silverware.

"But it's important to underline the quality of this generation of players, the players that have actually broken into this squad. I think the Spanish players are the best in the world."

Spain's win came courtesy of Riccardo Calafiori's 55th-minute own goal, but had it not been for the excellence of Italy keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and the woodwork, they might have won even more comfortably.

De La Fuente insists he and his players must keep their feet on the ground, but he does not believe there is a better team in the tournament.

He said: "I'm very proud of the result and I'm very proud to coach at top side at the European Championship, but I'm also very proud of the way in which we won this match.

"I'm also conscious of the fact that it's a very challenging tournament and the further we go along in the competition, our opponents will get to know us.

"Our opponents will become increasingly difficult in the knockout rounds. We know there are a lot of top teams in this competition, but we need to keep these feelings in mind.

“As I said, no team is better than us — I still am of that opinion, but we need to keep working hard and keep playing as we have done thus far, so we need to improve, we need to keep our feet on the ground and never let our guard down.“

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