Spanish media blasted the national team as weak on Tuesday and called on coach Vicente del Bosque to resign after the defending champions were knocked out of Euro 2016 by Italy.
“Failure” said the headline in Barcelona-based newspaper Sport after Monday’s 2-0 defeat in Paris ended Spain’s bid for a third successive European title, while El Mundo Deportivo mocked the side nicknamed La Roja (The Red) with a headline reading “La Floja” (The Weak).
The Madrid-based AS paper carried the headline: “End of an era” and said Del Bosque, who succeeded the late Luis Aragones shortly after Spain’s Euro 2008 success, needed to go.
“It’s time to hand over the baton, Del Bosque out; (former Sevilla coach Joaquin) Caparros is warming up,” AS said, adding that Caparros had turned down offers to coach Betis, Valencia and Alaves in order to become the next national coach.
Along with Michel, who was sacked by Olympique de Marseille in April, and former FC Porto tactician Julen Lopetegui, Caparros is widely considered as a candidate to replace Del Bosque should the 65-year-old step down.
“This early knockout and the early exit from the 2014 World Cup is the epitaph of a glorious cycle of Del Bosque’s team,” El Mundo Deportivo wrote.
Marca’s front page read: “We are no longer the best. 2008-2016, it was beautiful while it lasted.
“It all started and ended with Italy,” the newspaper added.
Spain could have avoided facing Italy but their 2-1 loss to Croatia in the group stage meant they ended up in the more challenging side of the draw for the knockouts.
In the quarter-finals of Euro 2008, Spain beat Italy on penalties, a result that proved to be a turning point for the national team who went on to win the 2010 World Cup.
Marca praised Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, who spared Spain from a more humiliating defeat, giving him a rating of seven out of 10, with only second-half substitutes Aritz Aduriz and Lucas Vazquez coming close with six.
De Gea, who started at Euro 2016 ahead of Spain captain Iker Casillas, the team’s first-choice keeper since 2002, made four great saves against Italy.