Defeat not the end of an era, says del Bosque

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque refuted suggestions that it was the end of an era for Spanish football after his team was eliminated from Euro 2016 following a 2-0 loss to Italy.

The defeat brought an end to Spain’s eight-year long reign of European football after victories in 2008 and 2012.

Antonio Conte’s team now go on to meet Germany in the quarter-finals.

Speaking at the Stade de France after the game, del Bosque said, "It has been and is a great era for Spanish football."

"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."

Spain were outplayed by Italy for a majority of the clash and del Bosque freely admitted that his team had been second best.

"I confess Spain were inferior – our players tried until the end and we had the chances to equalize but I agree Italy were better.

"In the first half we were a bit timid and we didn't play with the bravery or decisiveness we had in other games," he said.

"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 equalizer. We didn't score and for sure Italy played better,” he added.

Del Bosque, who had said he would possibly step down after France, refused to speculate about his future.

"There is no point going over and over this, I will speak with the president and decide the best thing for the national team," he said.