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Vicente del Bosque became the first coach to complete the hat-trick of UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship on Sunday but he refused to linger on personal achievements.
"This is a great era for Spanish football," said Del Bosque, who paid tribute to his players after an "extraordinary" performance but also praised opponents Italy, a side he said had everything but luck. His counterpart Cesare Prandelli, looking as tired as his players, admitted he would have "pangs of disappointment" departing Ukraine, but he leaves satisfied with a tournament where his Azzurri squad warranted an 8/10 mark.
Vicente del Bosque, Spain coach
Before I start to analyse anything I'd like to say that everyone loses sometimes. Italy had a great tournament but had that injury with Thiago Motta [which left them to play the last 28 minutes with ten men] and the game effectively ended then. We played well, got the first goal and though Italy responded well we reacted and got a second. Our success is historic but we have to begin looking to the future and qualifying for Brazil.
This is a great generation of players. They have roots and know how to play because they come from a country that knows how to. We have a great bunch of lads, some playing abroad – they never used to. This is a great era for Spanish football. After Vienna [and the UEFA EURO 2008 final] Luis Aragonés, the then coach, showed us the way, the direction to go. But there are challenges ahead with World Cup qualification,and then the Confederations Cup where, representing Europe, we want to do well.
We had an extraordinary match but don't underestimate Italy – they just had no luck. Everything went our way tonight. Italy had one fewer player, one less day of rest and they tried throughout but couldn't get into the game. We played our own game and were faithful to what we've done over the years. I have spoken to the King [Juan Carlos] and his son and they told us they will see us tomorrow. This is a great time for all the Spanish people.
Cesare Prandelli, Italy coach
Our only regret is that we were so tired. We were up against a great side, the world champions, and as soon as we went down to ten men it was game over. We had a couple of chances at the start of the second half but didn't take them and when Thiago Motta went off we had nothing left in the tank. When we did attack, we struggled to get back to cover.
I think we've had a terrific European Championship and our only regret is that we didn't have a few more days to rest before this game. We played against Spain in the group stage and I thought we were excellent then – because we were 100% fit. Against a team like Spain you need to be at your best, going into tackles, and tonight we simply weren't. You have to pay credit to Spain. They have made history tonight and deservedly so. They may not play with a recognised striker but they still cause a hell of a lot of problems.
I'd give us an eight out of ten for the tournament. We had a difficult group and played some good games; we just struggled to recover our fitness. Italy have shown terrific team spirit, they've shown you can play attacking football, they've shown you don't have to kick people, they've shown you can lose with dignity and that they can react to hard situations.
You can never be happy after defeat; you always want to win. But the longer the game went on the more I came to reflect on how well we've played.
When we fly over Kyiv and see the stadium lights I will have pangs of disappointment but I leave proud.
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