Spain ended their qualification campaign with an eighth consecutive clean sheet victory — the last one against Ukraine at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev where Vicente Del Bosque’s men won the 2012 European Championship
As was widely expected, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea replaced Iker Casillas between the sticks for Spain in their final game against Ukraine, and played his role in the clean sheet win with a fantastic save with his feet from a Rotan volley.
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque praised De Gea for his performance, admitting that selecting a 23-man squad for the 2016 European Championship in France next summer would not be an easy task given the options he has available.
Del Bosque admits choosing a 23-man squad will be difficult
Spain finished their qualification campaign on a high, as a much-changed side beat Ukraine in Kiev on Monday courtesy a d but goal by Villarreal right-back Mario. Del Bosque praised the performance of the hosts, but also acknowledged the performances of two of his younger stars in David De Gea and Thiago AlcA?ntara.
“All of them played well,” Del Bosque said of his players’ performances (via Goal). “It is good to look at other players and ensure that they can help us.
“It will be a problem to choose just 23 players for Euro 2016, but therea s still a long way to go until then.
“We have solutions and that offers plenty of encouragement, because we have to see the options ahead of the Euros.
“The experience was a good one with all the changes we were able to make. We are happy. It is true we had more control of the game but they had their chances, with Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka on the counter-attack.
“Ukraine played really well. David de Gea was great – so was Thiago Alacantara.”
De Gea should take over from Casillas as first choice
The Manchester United shot-stopper’s stars have been rising over the past couple of seasons, and the 24-year-old has established himself as one of the finest keepers in the world in this period. Del Bosque has been reticent to drop Casillas however, opting to stick with the FC Porto keeper in the more meaningful of the two qualifiers (against Luxembourg).
While the former Real Madrid man has been of great service to the national team, there is no question that he isn’t quite the keeper he once was. Having already won everything there is to win at the international level including a World Cup and two Euro Championships, now is the perfect time for Spain to make the transition from Casillas to De Gea.