MADRID: The Spanish press turned on Julen Lopetegui, the former national coach who was fired on the eve of the World Cup, after they were knocked out of the tournament on Sunday.
The 2010 winners were eliminated by host nation Russia in a penalty shootout after a match that Spain dominated but failed to make their overwhelming possession count.
“The KO in the last 16 is another dark chapter in our history,” said sports daily Marca.
“The match… was a horror. (Spain) played badly, and didn’t think it out… by the time the penalty shootout started this was a broken team lacking the desire to confront a challenge which owes a lot to luck but also to courage,” the paper said.
Marca blamed Lopetegui, whose decision to accept the coach’s job at Real Madrid on the eve of the World Cup led to his firing, for destabilising the team.
The paper said it was “incredible naivety” to think that Lopetegui’s abrupt departure did not have an effect.
As, another sports newspaper, said: “The World Cup will not miss us”, adding: “Spain did not play well in a single match.”
The Barcelona-based Sport newspaper criticised Real Madrid, the Catalan club’s bitter rivals, for “blowing apart the Roja’s chances” by approaching Lopetegui when they did.
“It was the chaos sparked by Lopetegui’s recruitment that caused this debacle,” the paper said in an editorial.