Alonso: Spain won't lose cool
Netherlands' midfielder Nigel de Jong, right, fouls Spain's midfielder Xabi Alonso with a kick to the stomach. (AFP)
Rio de Janeiro - Spain must not get frustrated if they find themselves up against defensive opponents and patience will be the key to success, midfielder Xabi Alonso said as the holders prepare for their opening World Cup Group B game later on Friday.
The Netherlands are the world and European champions' first opponents in Brazil, a repeat of the 2010 final, and Dutch coach Louis van Gaal has said he will deploy a five-man defence to try to thwart Spain's fearsome attack.
Spanish matches almost always follow a familiar pattern, with Vicente del Bosque's men dominating possession and mounting wave after wave of forward forays, while the opposing team waits for a chance to counter-attack.
"Our playing style is very clearly defined and we mustn't get frustrated or annoyed about the way our opponents line up," Alonso said on the team's website (www.sefutbol.com).
"Each team is thinking about the way to get the best result," added the 32-year-old.
"They are matches which require a lot of patience and concentration.
"The key, and the thing that has been crucial to our success, is maintaining focus and awareness in defence. We have conceded very few goals in these major tournaments."
Spain's recent success has been partly due to a mean defence and they conceded a mere six goals in 19 matches on the way to winning Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.
Chile, who are also in Group B in Brazil along with Australia, scored one of those goals in the group phase in South Africa four years ago and meet the Spanish on Wednesday.