Johannesburg: Spain are still hoping to see the best of out-of-sorts striker Fernando Torres at the World Cup, according to coach Vicente del Bosque.
Torres returned from knee surgery shortly before the tournament in South Africa and turned in another lacklustre performance for the European champions in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Paraguay before being substituted shortly after halftime.
Strike partner David Villa again overshadowed the Liverpool forward, scoring an 83rd-minute winner to set up a last-four clash against Germany, whom Spain beat 1-0 in the final of Euro 2008 with a Torres goal.
“He (Torres) is in good shape physically and in his defence you have to say that the team didn’t really string together their attacks well,” Del Bosque said at a news conference after his side kept alive their hopes of a first World Cup triumph.
“We are satisfied with his work and his attitude and we are hoping for the best of him in our next matches,” he added.
While Torres has yet to find the net in any of Spain’s games, Villa took his tally to five in five for the tournament and now has 43 goals in 63 appearances, one short of Raul’s national scoring record of 44 in 102 matches.
Looking ahead to the match against Germany in Durban on Wednesday, Spain captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas said Joachim Loew’s prolific side, who thumped Argentina 4-0 in their quarter-final after thrashing England 4-1, were the best at the World Cup.
“They proved that against both Argentina and England and I think we have to show them maximum respect,” Casillas, who saved a Paraguay penalty in a dramatic second half at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park, told reporters.
“It won’t be an easy match and they will be out for revenge after the European Championship,” he added. “But we’ll stand up to them.”
Torres added: “I am a great follower of German soccer and always have been.
“For me, they are a great side and we’ll have to be prepared as we haven’t had a match as tough yet.”