RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Coach Vicente del Bosque said changes are in store for Spain — and maybe himself — after the team’s early World Cup exit on Wednesday.
Spain became the first defending champion to lose its first two group games after Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Chile, which advanced alongside the Netherlands in Group B.
“It’s true that when something negative like this happens in a World Cup there are consequences. But there is a lot of time ahead to reflect on this and to decide,” Del Bosque said from the Maracana. “We need to stay calm and look at what’s best for Spanish football, including myself.”
The 63-year-old former Real Madrid coach is signed to guide Spain to the 2016 European Championship, where it will look to win the continental title for a third straight time.
Del Bosque is Spain’s most successful coach, having guided the country to its maiden World Cup win in 2010 before defending the European crown two years later.
“Vicente del Bosque deserves all of our respect, and we will support him whatever he decides,” defender Sergio Ramos said.
Del Bosque appeared taken aback by the unexpected exit of one of the tournament favorites, which conceded seven goals in two matches. In the 19 games Spain played in winning three straight major titles, it allowed just six goals in total.
“If you think about everything accomplished and you told me we would be eliminated in the group stage I wouldn’t believe you,” Del Bosque said. “We were too slow, too timid from the start today, we looked like we were afraid of failing.
“I can only apologize for us failing. We were not good enough against Chile.”
Del Bosque was hesitant to tinker with one of football’s most successful squads, with age turning into a liability rather than an important positive for the Spanish. Many of Spain’s players also joined up with the team late after Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid played in the Champions League final at the end of May.
Spain closes out Group B play against Australia on Monday looking to salvage some pride and avoid finishing last in the group.
Australia also lost its two games, 3-1 to Chile and 3-2 to the Netherlands earlier Wednesday.
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