Resistance to change in Spain despite Euro 2016 failure
By Adriana Garcia
MADRID (Reuters) - The suggestion that Spain need to change their playing style is already meeting resistance even though another disappointing performance at a major soccer tournament suggests that tiki-taka has run its course.
In many countries, a defeat as comprehensive as the one Spain suffered against Italy in Euro 2016 on Monday, when they were outplayed and lucky to lose only 2-0, would have led to calls to knock everything down and start again.
In Spain, however, where many are proud of having such a distinctive style of play, there are plenty of voices calling for the team to continue trying to pass the ball all the way into the goal.
"We can't have doubts about what is ours and has given us success in the last eight years," former Spain midfielder Michel, who this season coached Olympique Marseille, told radio station Cadena Ser.
"We have great players to keep up that style. We must continue with it. We cannot point to another style, using muscles and physicality because that is not who we are.
"I disagree with the 'end of cycle' headlines," he added. "Most players who competed in France will continue to play in the team because they are very good."
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque started the same players in their four games in France and the average age was 28, with Andres Iniesta the oldest at 32 and Alvaro Morata the youngest at 23.
Del Bosque took over after Euro 2008 and has won a World Cup and European Championship in his eight years at the helm, though he also watched his team make an early exit from the 2014 World Cup. He is now widely expected to leave, although that is not yet certain.
Former Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros, who would be among the contenders to replace Del Bosque, also said he saw no need for any drastic changes.
"I don't think this defeat against a rival of such a level, has to be reason for a revolution," Caparros told El Pais.
"I understand that after two big tournaments without good results, people want drastic changes but calm is needed. Our players continue to have credibility and are a reference around the world; we must continue to trust them."
Lucas Vazquez, one of the younger members of the squad, was another who saw no need for either a change of style or personnel.
"I don't think that we need sweeping changes in the national team," he said.
"The players are not so old that we need to change everything. We've had two bad tournaments and that's the end of the matter.
"We have the feeling that we've missed a chance to do something important in this tournament. We have to reflect and learn but if you look one by one there is nobody like us and that makes us more angry."
(Reporting by Adriana Garcia; Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Clare Fallon)