Del Bosque keeps Spain's feet on the ground
Spain launch their bid to retain the World Cup in Brazil with a richly talented squad and the ideal man to keep their feet on the ground as they chase a fourth successive major title - coach Vicente del Bosque.
There is little that can ruffle the 63-year-old (above), who took charge of La Roja after they won Euro 2008 and led them to victory at the World Cup in South Africa two years later, before they defended their Euro crown in 2012.
It was no easy task coping with the expectation generated by the triumph at Euro 2008, when a side coached by the late Luis Aragones won Spain's first major trophy since the 1964 European Championship.
Aragones, who died in February and is regarded as the father of the modern Spain team, got rid of the hierarchy and out-sized egos in the team while introducing the brand of quick-passing football that had brought success at Barcelona.
Del Bosque had strong credentials for the job and has been a success while ensuring the players are the protagonists. He rules by conviction and is not swayed by the opinions of fans and the media.
As Spain coach, del Bosque has showed his ability to ease tensions, notably at Euro 2012 when he had to heal rifts between the Barca and Real players.
"I am not the kind of coach who likes to shout and scream and force my ideas," del Bosque said. "I would rather convince the players. I am only bothered about my work and getting on with people."
At Euro 2012, he showed his determination to stick to his guns over team tactics, refusing to play a recognised striker despite plenty of criticism.
Whatever happens in Brazil, Del Bosque is likely to take the outcome philosophically.
"I feel very fortunate because I am only a coach," he said. "In my profession I have been able to achieve the unthinkable and I feel proud that, given my passion is football, I have won a World Cup and a European Championship." - Reuters.