Luis Aragones and Cesc Fabregas say Spain have been spurred on by a desire to prove critics wrong at Euro 2008.
The Spaniards beat Russia 3-0 on Thursday to reach their first major final in 24 years - against Germany.
Coach Aragones said: "The criticism has taught me a lot, except when I was insulted. It has stimulated me and encouraged me to do things better."
Midfielder Fabregas added: "There are always doubts. Nobody was expecting us to be where we are now."
Aragones, 69, has been a controversial figure as Spain coach but now stands one game away from emulating Josť Villalonga, who led Spain to their sole tournament success by winning the 1964 European Championship.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.