Champions are out, Spain’s legacy is over
UEFA Euro 2016 Round of 16: Italy 2-0 Spain
It is the end of an era for Spain with two consecutive early exits in thee last two major tournaments. Italy advance to the quarterfinal and will play Germany. After the World Cup 2014 in Brazil, Spain has again failed to go deep in a moajor tournament. The Euro 2008 and 2012 champions have not been able to renovate the squad and logically lost to Italy. The Italians were tactically and mentally superior to the Spanish today. It is also the first win for Italy against Spain since the 1994 World Cup.. another generation of players!
So now we can firmly say that the reign of Spain in World’s football is over and the team faces many questions. You cna expect some players such as Iniesta, Ramos to move on as Xavi did in 2014. What is the new source of youth for Spain? We will find out in the coming months.
Find below the reactions from both sides following the final whistle:
Antonio Conte, Italy coach
“I’ve always said, right from the start of my work here with the national team, that the only road we can follow if we want a bit of success is to be like a club, to be like a team that play together every week – we cannot allow ourselves to be a selection.
I’m happy above all for the players. It’s more than a month that we’ve been working tactically, technically, mentally and we’ve been trying to surprise everybody and I think we’ve succeeded to some extent. Spain are one of the best teams in the world. They have players of an extremely high level, not just on but also off the field”.
“We now face the best side at the European Championship next Saturday. It’s going to be very, very hard in all aspects. We’ve got to do well to recover and prepare for Germany the best way we can. We are without Thiago Motta and that’s a big blow, also because De Rossi took a knock to his hip. But we know that in adversity, we give that little bit more”.
Vicente del Bosque, Spain coach
“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.
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.
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.
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. 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”.
Andrés Iniesta, Spain midfielder
“I’m lost for words. They were more effective when it mattered, they were superior. We were waiting too much for what they were going to do. Sometimes these situations can come back to hurt you. During the second half we fought more and the match was different. Of course, you can still end up on the losing side. Hopes were very high, but we have to deal with our disappointment. There’s nothing else to it: let’s think about the future”.