After Spain’s early exit from the World Cup 2014, there have been several questions and doubts raised about the future of the Spanish national team. They have achieved immense success in the last six years, but it was preceded by a barren spell of more than four decades. There is a danger that Spain may go down the route once again, but manager Vicente del Bosque has dismissed those fears. Spain have a long list of players coming through and he reckons that the early exit was only because of the generation gap.
Spain managed just one win in the group matches while they were also heavily beaten by Netherlands and Chile in consecutive matches. Their World Cup campaign was effectively over after just two matches, which is one of the worst records in their history. However, Spain have immediately started looking at the Euro 2016 qualifying. Despite this poor form, bookmakers still regard Spain as one of the favourites to lift the Euro 2016. They are almost certainties to qualify for the tournament after being placed in a group containing the likes of Belarus and Ukraine.
Following the friendly match against France in September, Euro 2016 qualifying begins with a match against Macedonia in the first week of September. Vicente del Bosque is already looking forward to this match. “I will speak to my president and general secretary and we will decide whatever is best for Spanish football – with no drama, just making the decision rationally. Today is the end of a six-year cycle, but I think the future of the national team will be positive – we have good young players coming through,” said del Bosque.
The match saw the international retirements of players like David Villa, while the futures of players like Alonso and Iker Casillas are also not clear.
Portugal Fans Video clip Ranking: five / five
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Portugal boss Paulo Bento has stated that he has no problem in relying upon superstar Cristiano Ronaldo for most of his team’s goals and upcoming World Cup 2014. Ronaldo comes into the tournament as the world’s best player after having recently won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award. He has also lifted the Champions League title first time as a Real Madrid player. Due to the recent highs Ronaldo is expected to be one of the name to watch out at the World Cup 2014. Portugal have been given a tough group stage with the likes of Germany and Ghana being the group opponents.
There has been recent criticism of Bento that he relies too much on Ronaldo. Portugal have been given a huge scare with the news that Ronaldo is still not 100% fit. However, he is expected to be in the starting line-up for Portugal’s opening match of the tournament against Germany. Portugal have done exceedingly well in recent matches after having stayed unbeaten in the last five. Their recent friendly against Greece ended in a 0-0 draw. The team has friendlies against Mexico and Republic of Ireland lined up before the World Cup.
“Whoever we have in the team, we’ll have to compete. The national team, Real Madrid or Manchester United were always stronger when they had a player with Cristiano Ronaldo’s ability. If teams that train every day together depend on him, why should we be afraid of saying he has an enormous influence on our team? But we can’t lose the capacity of working when he’s not available for selection,” said Bento.
Portugal are considered as one of the favourites to qualify stages, but given their tough group matches, they could falter. The United States of America is the other group opponent for Portugal, whose tournament starts on June 16.
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