Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has been given the full backing of his country's football federation after La Roja's disastrously early exit from the World Cup in Brazil.
Should Del Bosque step down as Spain coach?
The Spanish FA (RFEF) has urged the 63-year-old to see out his contract in the job, which continues until Euro 2016 in France, despite calls from some quarters for the veteran manager to step down.
Spain became the first team—along with Australia—to be eliminated from the World Cup in Brazil after being convincingly beaten in their first two group games by the Netherlands and Chile.
However, RFEF general secretary Jorge Perez told COPE radio (via Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC) he could think of no better man to guide a much-needed transitional period for the Spain squad:
We would like Del Bosque to continue, he has a contract until the Euros in France. We will try and convince him to stay. If it should not happen, the contract can be torn up, that is not a problem. We believe in the RFEF that it is a luxury to have him and that he should be the man to bring continuity. He is the ideal man for this transition, which almost surely must take place. Who is better than him?
The debacle in South America comes after a sustained period of dominance from the Spanish, which saw them win both Euro 2008 and 2012 as well as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa—the latter two with Del Bosque as coach.
Their early exit from the tournament in Brazil is seen by many as the end of an era for Spain and their much-lauded tiki-taka style, with BT Sport's Ian Darke providing a post-mortem of sorts:
Spain out. Confidence shot. Tiki taka sussed. Rival coaches know how to combat. But salute a great team for whom a tournament too far.— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) June 19, 2014
As such, there are many people now calling for Del Bosque to step down and hand the reins to a new manager for a fresh start. Indeed, Corrigan reports the result of a Marca poll in which 69 per cent of 150,000 respondents were in favour of finding a replacement.
Furthermore, AS reported after the defeat to Chile that Del Bosque himself was considering his future in charge of Spain:
Del Bosque considering whether to stay on as Spain boss http://t.co/Pykphl6DdJ— AS English (@English_AS) June 19, 2014
However, he seems to not only have the backing of the RFEF, but also of the players, defender Sergio Ramos coming out to support his coach per Corrigan's piece:
We players do not have a voice or a vote, but if Vicente wants to continue in charge of the national team he will have our full respect. With him in charge we have had some magnificent years. He is a great coach and deserves respect. He is someone I like as a person and as a coach. It would be nice if he stayed.
There is absolutely no disputing that Del Bosque is a phenomenal coach—winning back-to-back major tournaments is no mean feat.
But after last year's 3-0 Confederations Cup final defeat to Brazil and the recent World Cup exit, it is unsurprising that changes are being talked about.
There is a new generation in the offing for Spain, but with the likes of Manchester United's David de Gea, Atletico Madrid's Koke and Sevilla's Alberto Moreno coming through, it could potentially be another great one.
Del Bosque could no doubt do as good a job again as he did with the previous generation of stars, but it remains to be seen whether he will take up the opportunity.