7 July 2014 10:59
Roberto Martinez believes Spain have the emerging talent to remain a force on the international stage as they come to the end of an era.
After being crowned world champions for the first time four years ago and winning the European Championship in 2008 and 2012, Spain crashed out of the current FIFA World Cup in Brazil with a whimper.
Vicente del Bosque’s side were hammered 5-1 by the Netherlands in their opening game of the tournament and were unable to qualify from Group B after losing against Chile.
They did manage a victory against Australia before departing Brazil, but the damage had already been done as the inquest into their failure began.
Spain’s early exit marked the end of striker David Villa’s international career and there has been talk of Xavi and Iker Casillas following suit, but Everton manager Martinez insists it is by no means doom and gloom in his homeland.
He told FIFA.com: “I don’t think it has been negative at all back in Spain.
“There has been real disappointment about the results, but there has been an understanding that Vicente del Bosque wanted to allow football to make the decision of when the new generation had to come through.
“Straight after the disappointment of a bad result, there was a celebration of the golden generation in world football they have provided – not just for Spanish football, for the whole community of football.
“To win three major trophies on the trot, I don’t think we’ll ever see again. It has been a matter of being sad but celebrating and being thankful for what this group of players has done.
“Now it’s allowing the school and ideology that this group of players brought to Spain to continue.
“It’s a change of cycle in terms of personnel but not in the mentality and the way of playing, because the young generation have been successful at Under-21 level and there are replacements there ready to take responsibility.”