Spain coach Luis Aragones praised his side for the resolve they showed in beating Italy on penalties to set up a Euro 2008 semi-final against Russia.
A dour match ended in a 0-0 draw before Spain won 4-2 in a penalty shootout.
“I would like to congratulate first of all my players for their remarkable behaviour and maintaining their morale during the match,” said Aragones.
“It was very difficult as the Italians closed down all the spaces, which made it difficult to play our natural game.”
Spain, who showed more enterprise throughout, struggled to break down Italy before finally prevailing on penalties.
“Like all the Spanish camp I’m delighted by this victory,” added Aragones.
“But we’ve done nothing more than win a small battle. I think Spain just about deserved to win but we didn’t play good football and neither did Italy.
“We did the job and in Spain we have always talked about not getting past the quarters but now we have a chance of getting to the final. The team is convinced they can win this.”
Cesc Fabregas scored the winning penalty after Spain keeper Iker Casillas saved from Daniele de Rossi and Antonio di Natale.
“This is wonderful, it is impossible to find the words to express such an emotion,” said Fabregas.
“We are just simply delighted. This is an important victory for this young side. We have been waiting for this for a long time.”
His side now face a Russia team that has been transformed since their 4-1 hammering by Spain in the opening group game.
“It will be a very different game,” stated Aragones. “They’ve got a very physically very fit side and have had an extra day’s rest. It will be extremely tough for us.
“Russia are at their peak given the way their season works and they were outstanding against the Dutch in extra time.
“It will be very difficult because they have a very good side.”