Spain battled their way to a 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win over Belarus on Sunday, enabling head coach Vicente del Bosque to celebrate his 100th game in charge.
During his reign, Del Bosque has guided the nation to World Cup glory in 2010, which was followed by a triumph in stunning style at the European Championship two years later.
Spain are bidding to win their third successive Euros – after lifting the trophy under Luis Aragones in 2008 – and they moved a step closer to qualification for the finals in France next year as David Silva’s goal settled a scrappy affair in Borisov.
The win leaves Spain second in Group C, three points behind Slovakia and three clear of Ukraine, looking well-placed to claim one of the two automatic berths on offer.
“If we are positive, we had control of the game, apart from a spell at the start of the second half,” Del Bosque said.
“We lacked precision in the final third but I think we controlled well and had more chances.
“We add three points that allow us to keep in a good position in the classification. We have taken a step forward to be in France.
“In September we play Slovakia [at home]. We are working with a wide range of players.
“Since the last match against Australia at the World Cup, seven new players have come in, and five from the Netherlands game.
“The most important thing is the group. All my players are definite starters for their clubs and playing at the top of their game.”
On his century of games in charge, Del Bosque said: “It has been a long journey in which we have had everything, good and bad. We’ll see if what awaits us in the future is good.”