Spanish football era goes on, says Del Bosque

Paris (AFP) – Spain coach Vicente del Bosque batted away questions about his future and denied it was the end of an era for his side they lost 2-0 to Italy on Monday and crashed out of Euro 2016.

“It has been and is a great era for Spanish football. We have Italy ahead of us for the World Cup qualifiers in Russia and we have to prepare for that,” Del Bosque said after Monday’s defeat at the Stade de France.

“I don’t think an era has ended. Spanish football is very well structured — there are good academies, very good players and very good clubs.

“This shows us how difficult it is to win a major championship. Only one can win — the other 23 will be eliminated.”

Of his future he said: “There is no point going over and over this, I will speak with the president and decide the best thing for the national team.”

Italy were worthy winners of the last-16 tie as Giorgio Chiellini put them ahead in the first half and Graziano Pelle sealed victory at the death.

“In the first half we were a bit timid and we didn’t play with the bravery or decisiveness we had in other games,” added the Spain coach.

“In the second half we played with a lot of risk, which meant we were caught on the counter-attack, but we tried until the end for the equaliser. We didn’t score and for sure Italy played better.”

Even though Italy were superior throughout the game Del Bosque insisted his team were always in it.

“I confess Spain were inferior — our players tried until the end and we had the chances to equalise but I agree Italy were better, (but) to say it was a thrashing I feel is excessive,” he responded to suggestions it had been a one-sided contest.

“It cost us a lot to defend against them. We didn’t have a lot of penetration, we took a lot of risks in the second half, but always with good intentions and going to look for the goal.”

Spain could have avoided meeting the Italians so early on but a 2-1 loss to Croatia condemned them to second spot in Group D after a promising start in France.

“We played two good games. The third wasn’t bad but the last goal against Croatia damaged us a lot,” Del Bosque admitted.

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