We have to prepare well against Italy: Spain coach del Bosque

Paris: Spain head coach Vicente del Bosque has defended his team following their shocking 1-2 defeat to Croatia in the Euro football championship group stage encounter and said that they need to come back strong against Italy in the pre-quarterfinal. A late goal from Croatia's Ivan Perisic on Tuesday condemned the reigning European champions to second place in Group D and a clash with Italy in the Round-of-16.

"I think we have time to analyse what that means against Italy. I think it wasn't the path we wanted to take," Del Bosque was quoted as saying by goal.com after the loss. "We looked like we had controlled the game against Croatia but football's brought us to the situation and we will try to recuperate as good as possible and be in the best possible condition on Monday," the 2010 World Cup-winning coach reflected. "They're playing well, before today we were playing well, and even today we haven't played badly. We have to prepare well to play against Italy." Del Bosque insisted he had confidence in the condition of his players, and believes shaking things up will not have had a huge difference. “I think they may be tired. That's normal playing a game in this temperature against this team, but I think we were in good condition to play this game," he said. "We don't have a scientific way of saying these (players) can play, or these can't play. We have lots of confidence in the physical condition of our players." The head coach also came out in defence of goalkeeper David De Gea, who was beaten at his near post for the winning goal. "He didn't have too much to do and we can't blame him for the goals. The second was a counter attack the first was from close range," the 65-year-old said. "I don't think we have to blame anyone specifically. We've lost, all of us have lost, we're all to blame.”