Spain stars shattered after defeat
By Francisco Acedo
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Needing only a draw to progress Inaki Saez's men were outfought by their neighbours and, after missing a host of chances, paid the ultimate price.
Fernando Torres, one of Spain's better performers on the night, was gracious in defeat insisting Portugal had fully merited their triumph.
"Portugal were better than Spain, they knew how to play from the first minute until the last," the 20-year-old declared.
"I thought they were only going to dominate the first twenty minutes.
"They were stronger than us in every department, they always had the ball and maintained a very high level.
The Atletico Madrid starlet, a surprise starter in place of Fernando Morientes, also cleared coach Saez of any blame claiming it was the players who had underperformed.
"We wanted to change history and Saez has no blame."
A host of other players echoed Torres's sentiments, but the inquest has already begun in Spain where there is widespread disbelief and anger at the team's below-par performance.
"We are very hurt," stated Carles Puyol. "The ones who go out on to the pitch are the players. We are responsible.
"Saez did well and the group were with him to the death. The press asked for certain players (to be given a chance) and he put them in."
Vicente, one of the few to emerge with credit, added: "Spain suffered a lot by not having the ball. In the first half hour we did not have it, we wasted it and we paid for it.
"It (the result) leaves you with sadness and disappointment. It is not fair that we have been knocked out.
"We created chances to score more goals but we had no luck."
Joaquin said: "We were very unlucky in front of goal.
"We had a lot more to give, nobody thought we would go out so early. We are unfortunates without luck."
Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas opined honestly: "They were superior, it had nothing to do with the referee.
"It's strange that the team who conceded least goals are going out, but as we didn't score we could not got through."
Xabi Alonso concluded: "In the first half we were on top. In the second they scored the goal and it was not to be for us.
"We hit the woodwork twice and had no luck. The fans will be so disappointed, just like us."