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Spanish media sees reasons for optimism amid tears

Written by: Staff

MADRID, June 28: Spain's World Cup exit to French ''dinosaurs'' was greeted with criticism of coach Luis Aragones but also optimism about the young team's future.

''Total Letdown'' read the front page of sports daily Sport today while AS said: ''It was beautiful while it lasted''.

Spain, who began in spectacular fashion with a 4-0 win over Ukraine, lost 3-1 to France's ageing team in the second round yesterday, living up to a reputation as perennial under-achievers.

Aragones was singled out by sports daily Mundo Deportivo, after he seemed to opt for experience rather than youth with the inclusion of striker Raul from the start against France.

''It is not to say he is a bad coach but the problem was he changed his model. The team started the campaign with a lineup that looked like the beginning of a new era,'' it said.

''But by playing Raul, who is an excellent player with the ability to change a game as a substitute but not to lead the line, he broke the concept of change. It was a return to 'more of the same'.'' Sports daily Marca struck a more positive note by looking to the future.

''Don't cry'' it said alongside the picture of a young fan in tears wearing a Spain shirt. ''We have a team and will return.

''This isn't the same as other times. We are coming home but we have a team, a style of play, fans, and a future....although we have to learn.'' Marca admitted it had been proved wrong after provocatively predicting Spain would ''retire'' Zinedine Zidane. ''He scored and put back his retirement from football. He retired us,'' it said.

France face world champions Brazil in the quarter-final on Saturday in Frankfurt.


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