POTCHEFSTROOM - Humility has been one of the major reasons behind Spain's success at the World Cup, the president of the country's football federation (RFEF) Angel Maria Villar said on Friday.
In an interview with Reuters at the European champions' training base, Villar added that luck was also a factor as well as the talent of the players and coach.
He said beating Netherlands on Sunday in Spain's first appearance in the final would cement their place in history.
"There are various key reasons why we are in the final of the World Cup," noted Villar.
"Above all it is because we have great players, a great coach and because these great players and great coach have come to this tournament with great humility and we have worked with all our strength in every match," he said.
"Also, and why not admit it, there is always that little slice of luck that you need in any competition," added Villar, a former player who is also a FIFA vice president and chairman of the world governing body's referees' committee.
In the past, the Spanish have been seen as underachievers in major tournaments but their triumph at Euro 2008 has proved a springboard to stunning success on soccer's biggest stage.
Various theories were put forward for previous failures, including too many outsized egos in the side and difficult relations between players from regions with designs on greater autonomy, such as Catalonia and the Basque Country.
Under avuncular coach Vicente del Bosque, the latest generation, including strikers David Villa and Fernando Torres, midfielders Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso and defenders Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, have moulded themselves into a harmonious unit where the emphasis is very much on teamwork.
The players have solid domestic roots and, in contrast to some of their peers in other countries, are never caught up in scandals plastered across newspaper front pages.
Villar declined to comment on the refereeing controversies in South Africa, including the shot by England's Frank Lampard that crossed the line against Germany and the Carlos Tevez goal against Mexico when the Argentina forward was offside.
"I am head of the referees' committee and I don't make any statements during a competition," he said.
Villar added he had no designs on the job of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who will seek re-election next year, and said he would vote for the Swiss incumbent even if Spain and Portugal fail in their joint bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups.
"He (Blatter) has known how to make very important decisions these past years," Villar said. "The most important, or one of the most important, has been to bring the World Cup to South Africa."comments