SAINT-DENIS: Spain, deposed as champions of the world and now of Europe, will go home from France and Euro 2016 and prepare for a changing of the guard writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Veteran coach Vicente Del Bosque, having steered his team to both victories and now both failures after the 2-0 defeat by Italy in the Stade de France, is expected to step down.

Del Bosque was reluctant to discuss his own personal future while he and his players were still coming to terms with the disappointment of their second-round exit in France on goals from Giorgio Chiellini in the first half and Graziano Pelle late in the second.

But even the knowledge that it took the brilliance of Italy keeper Gigi Buffon to defy Spain in an aggressive second-half did not persuade Del Bosque that his former champions had been unlucky to lose. On his return to Madrid he will meet federation president Maria Angel Villar with only a vote of thanks and a parting of the ways on the agenda.

Del Bosque said: “We had hoped to go further but one team can win the tournament, lots of people fall along their way and we are one of them. We were a bit timid in the first half, lacking in confidence and determination. In the second half we were better, more dangerous and took a lot of risks but Italy were better.”

No excuses

He did not think fatigue was a factor after a busy season for all is players.

Spain and Italy will soon face each other again since they have been drawn in the same group in European World Cup qualifying which begins in the autumn.

Del Bosque said: “It’s been a golden era for Spanish football and soon it starts all over again because in September we have the World Cup qualifiers and must play Italy all over again.

“We have a style of football to keep us going for many years and achieve many more things. Spain has a great structure. There’s a good youth academy and the work of the clubs is good as well so I don’t think an era is finished.”

His own era at the helm of the national team is a different matter.

Del Bosque said: “As for my own position, I have to speak to the president and then we’ll decide the best thing for the future of Spanish football in due course.”

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