June 20, 2014

CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) Spain coach Vicente del Bosque remained mum over his future Friday despite public backing from the Spanish federation, saying any decision would only come after the World Cup.

Del Bosque's future has been under question since Spain became the first defending champion to be out of contention after just two group games.

While federation director Jorge Perez told a Spanish radio station that Del Bosque was ''the ideal man to lead the transition the team needs,'' the coach himself said things weren't so clear-cut.

''We're still in the midst of the competition and I don't think it's the moment to talk about my future,'' Del Bosque said from the team's training base in southern Brazil. ''Whatever we decide will be what we feel is the best for the team. If I am a problem to our football than I'll go.''

The 63-year-old Del Bosque is under contract through 2016, when Spain will be looking to win its third straight European Championship, and second under the former Real Madrid coach. Del Bosque also guided Spain to the World Cup title in 2010.

''At this World Cup we all failed, not just the veterans, the youngsters or the coaching staff. It was all of us,'' Del Bosque said. ''We weren't at the same level as we were in past championships.''

Spain closes the tournament against Australia in its final Group B game on Monday. Spain was eliminated with a 2-0 loss to Chile.

Del Bosque said the team never managed to recover from the second-half collapse in a 5-1 loss to the Netherlands in the first game.

''Every player was sub-par. The Netherlands grew in confidence while we shrunk,'' said Del Bosque. ''The reality is we started well and little-by-little we fell into a depression. We kept falling and were never ourselves again.''

Del Bosque said the team deserved all the criticism it received for its performance, but stopped short of terming Spain's quick exit the end of an era.

''I don't know if this is end of a cycle. I don't think some players have to leave the team, there aren't so many old players,'' Del Bosque said. ''If people come into the team it will be based on merit, not age.''


Follow Paul Logothetis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PaulLogoAP

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