Martin Skrtel hailed the 'character and commitment' of his country after Slovakia became the first team in eight years to beat Spain in a qualifying fixture, with an historic 2-1 win in Zilina on Thursday night.

The record books show October 2006 as the last time the European heavyweights - World Cup victors in 2010, and champions of their continent in both 2008 and 2012 - were overturned in a preliminary for either tournament.

But Liverpool defender Skrtel captained Slovakia throughout the 90 minutes as goals from Juraj Kucka and substitute Miroslav Stoch stunned Vicente Del Bosque's team and sent the hosts to the summit of Group C with six points.

"We knew before the game we couldn't play openly against Spain because the quality was on their side," the Reds' centre-half reflected on a night that neither he nor his compatriots will forget in a hurry.

"We had to be compact at the back and then try to use the open spaces on the counter-attack. We played well, we scored the first goal and we were leading all game, but Spain moved the ball well.

"Of course, we knew they had the quality but we showed that with character and commitment you can get three points.

"Our 'keeper had a great game and I'm happy for him because he has not been picked for a while, but he's played in the last two international games and he made some very important saves. It was a great performance by him."