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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
Spaniards bitter after exit
Spain fans were distraught after their team's display
Dejected Spaniards have turned on their national football team after Sunday's elimination from Euro 2004 at the hands of rivals Portugal.

The 1-0 defeat to the hosts meant a Spain team once again failed to live up to expectations at a major tournament.

Spanish sport daily Marca said constant footballing failure had affected the nation's mental attitude.

El Mundo said Spain was "In Hell again", while Madrid's La Razon demanded an explanation from coach Inaki Saez.

"At least our early exit prevents us deluding ourselves," proclaimed Marca, attempting to find some positives in the situation

"We can blame Saez but the problem is much more complex.

"Our lack of mental strength, lack of action and the weight of history proves too big a burden for each new generation of Spanish soccer players."

La Razon, however, is in no doubt about where the problem stems from, laying the blame firmly at the feet of Saez.

Portugal provided all the passion
Spain coach Inaki Saez
The coach is accused of picking "his favourite players" rather than those "in better physical and mental shape".

National newspaper El Mundo says it has become traditional for Spain to go through the purgatory of entering a tournament among the favourites, only to crash out early.

El Pais summed up the national mood by saying "a new date and a new place will enter the traumatic history of the Spain team in major tournaments."

The As sports daily comes down hard on the players, saying Spain "failed again and this time without an ounce of glory or even dignity."

It adds: "There is nothing good to take from this tournament. They didn't play well, they can't blame a difficult draw or the referee and there were no heroes."

Meanwhile, As columnist 'Santos' sums up the national mood in succinct manner.

He says, simply: "Today, I refuse to speak of soccer."

Links to more Spain stories



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