Vicente Del Bosque defends keeping same Spain side for three games

Spain's coach Vicente Del Bosque gestures during a training session in Saint Martin de Re's stadium on June 9, 2016, on the eve of the start of the Euro 20
Image: Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has defended his decision to use the same starting side in all three Euro 2016 games so far

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has defended his decision to use the same starting side in all three Euro 2016 games so far.

The champions won their opening games against the Czech Republic and Turkey but were beaten 2-1 defeat by Croatia and must now take on Italy in Paris on Monday in a repeat of the 2012 final in the last 16.

"I accept it (the criticism) because it goes with my position," Del Bosque told AS newspaper.

"Had I made changes and we lost, people would have said 'why change something that works?' But there was nothing to alter."

Spain lost 2-1 to Croatia in their final group game, meaning they will now play Italy in the last 16 of Euro 2016
Image: Spain lost 2-1 to Croatia in their final group game, meaning they will now play Italy in the last 16 of Euro 2016

Iceland and Spain are the only sides in the knockout round to have 11 players who have surpassed the 200-minute mark of the 270 minutes played in total.

Winger Pedro had voiced his frustration before the Croatia game after playing just nine minutes.

"If you don't play, it isn't worth coming just to make up the numbers," he said.

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The Chelsea winger later apologized. Six Spanish players have come off the bench so far and only two of those substitutes, Bruno and Aritz Aduriz, have played more than 50 minutes each in the tournament.

"It hurts me not to be able to use more of the other players," Del Bosque said. "But I only have words of gratitude to those who have not played. They have shown availability, they have helped each day in training and in the camp."

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