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Mar 28, 2013

Del Bosque highlights Arbeloa display

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said he made a point of singling right-back Alvaro Arbeloa out for praise after Tuesday's 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory in France because the Real Madrid man had been a focus of criticism before the game.

• Corrigan: Clinical Spain oust Les Bleus

Despite being reigning world and European champions, Spain went into the game in Paris having been heavily criticised for their 1-1 draw at home to Finland the Friday before.

Arbeloa came under fire for being drawn out of position for the Finns' late equaliser, with some critics saying he lacked the technique of his international team-mates.

Del Bosque mentioned the former Liverpool player prominently when speaking to reporters directly after the game in Paris, in which Arbeloa marked Les Bleus dangerman Franck Ribery.

He told Spanish TV show Teledeporte on Wednesday that his comments had been a deliberate show of support for the former Liverpool player.

"He did great work with Ribery," Del Bosque said. "I spoke of him because I like to do that with those who are the weakest, as I did with [Sergio] Busquets in the past. He had some difficult days, and was being questioned a lot."

The veteran coach said it seemed some critics were only interested in bringing people down and seemed unaware of the current Spanish team's historic successes.

"There is a section who have a destructive spirit," he said. "We are not interested in that. There are times when we [Spanish people] do not realise the value in all we have achieved."

Critics should instead remember the outstanding current strength of Spanish football, the former Real Madrid boss said.

"It is normal that the national team generates debate, [but] we are in a magnificent moment," he added.

"There are three Spanish teams in the Champions League quarter-finals, we have a very competitive league and our youth teams are leading the way."

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