Spain manager Vicente del Bosque has cautioned against anyone burying this generation of Spanish players after the defending champions’ Euro 2016 exit to Italy on Monday.
Del Bosque’s men won the competition in 2008 and 2012, while adding a World Cup triumph in 2010. But they crashed out in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, an elimination highlighted by a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Netherlands in their opener.
The former Real Madrid boss, however, doesn’t believe the book has been closed on his group just yet, despite Monday’s 2-0 defeat to the underdog Italians in Saint-Denis.
“I don’t think it’s the end of an era. Spanish football has a great structure, we have great players and I don’t think it’s over,” Del Bosque said. “It starts again. We have to play Italy again in the World Cup qualifiers. As for my position as coach, I will speak to the [Royal Spanish Football Federation] president and we will see.”
Goals from Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle saw off Spain in a match Del Bosque said his side lacked “bravery” in the early moments.
“We were a bit timid in the first half, there was not enough bravery, but in the second half we took more risks, we tried to get the equaliser but we couldn’t,” Del Bosque said.
“Italy were the better team and I wish them the best. We tried until the end, we were not tired. We’re not a physical team, we are technical. But we came here in good shape. We had played two good games but the last-minute goal against Croatia hurt us.”
He added: “Italy were clearly much better and [David] De Gea was the best player on the park. We had some chances and could have equalised.
“To say they battered us would be an overreaction. You cannot doubt our intentions, we had the desire and heart as always. But in sport sometimes your opponent is better.”
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