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EURO 2016

Spain send Ukraine to Euro 2016 play-offs despite missing penalty

Spain ended Ukraine's hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2016 as Mario Gaspar's solitary goal on his international debut handed the European Champions a 1-0 win in Kiev on Monday.

Spain send Ukraine to Euro 2016 play-offs despite missing penalty
Photo: Genya Savilov / AFP

Cesc Fábregas also missed a penalty on his 100th cap, but Spain were grateful to a fantastic goalkeeping display from David de Gea to seal an eighth consecutive win in Group C.

Slovakia's 4-2 win over Luxembourg ensured they qualify for next year's finals in France in second place. Ukraine finished third and will now face a two-legged playoff in November to try and make it through.

“I always try to do my best and today I played well, but the most important thing was to win,” De Gea told Television Espanola.

De Gea has had to wait for his opportunities in the national team despite stunning performances for Manchester United in the past two seasons, but his latest display will only add to the call for Vicente del Bosque to start him ahead of captain Iker Casillas at the finals next June.

“I have to compete as best I can. Today I had some luck, but I need to continue playing like this,” added De Gea.

Del Bosque made 10 changes to the side that sealed their place in France with a 4-0 win over Luxembourg on Friday with only Fabregas keeping his place.

Ukraine had plenty of opportunities to take advantage of an inexperienced Spanish back four that had just 11 caps between them prior to kick-off, but a combination of some poor finishing and De Gea kept the hosts at bay.

De Gea was called into action for the first time as he turned Kravets's shot from a narrow angle behind before somehow turning Rotan's volley over the bar with an outstretched leg on 15 minutes.

However, the hosts were caught out by a wonderful move from the visitors five minutes later to open the scoring as Nolito and Thiago Alcantara exchanged passes and the latter marked his first international appearance for 19 months with a lovey cross for Gaspar to head home.

Del Bosque's men had a great chance to double their lead moments later when Fàbregas was brought down by Oleksandr Kucher inside the area.

However, Spain's captain for the evening couldn't convert from the spot as Andrey Pyatov flew to his left to pull of a fine save.

De Gea denied Kravets twice more before the break and Denys Garmash headed over from point-blank range as Ukraine piled forward in the search of an equaliser.

Yet, they were nearly caught on the break when Nolito placed his shot too close to Pyatov with the goal at his mercy.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was in the crowd reportedly keeping an eye on Dynamo Kiev winger Andriy Yarmolenko ahead of the English champions clash with the Ukrainians next week.

And Yarmolenko came alive at the start of the second period as he smashed a shot off the outside of the post.

Spain should have sealed all three points when Paco Alcacer was denied by Pyatov after brilliant skill by Isco and Thiago to set up the Valencia man and Nacho was penalised for a foul on Yarmolenko before Mikel San Jose smashed home the rebound.

However, De Gea had to come to his side's rescue again with brilliant saves from Garmash and Oleksandr Zinchenko's late volley to seal a frustrating night for the hosts.

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Del Bosque quits as Spain coach after poor Euro 2016

Vicente del Bosque said on Thursday that he has resigned as coach of Spain, just days after the reigning champions crashed out of Euro 2016.

Del Bosque quits as Spain coach after poor Euro 2016
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque announced he is quitting. Photo: AFP

“Without a doubt, I have no intention to remain as coach, but you have to be discreet. No matter what the result of the Euros, I had no doubt about what my future would be,” he told Spanish public radio RNE, confirming reports in sports dailies AS and Marca that he had quit.

Spain were eliminated from Euro 2016 on Monday following a meek 2-0 defeat to Italy and Marca says that ex-Granada coach Joaquin Caparros will take over.

Del Bosque, 65, who succeeded the late Luis Aragones after Spain's triumph at Euro 2008, is a popular figure in Spain after leading the national team to a maiden World Cup victory in 2010 and a second consecutive European Championship two years later.

But some felt a fresh start was needed after Spain's failure to advance beyond the group stage at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, however del Bosque had stayed in the job for France.

He said he will remain in the post until his contract expired on July 31st. Nobody at the Spanish football federation had asked for his advice regarding who should replace him, he said.

“I would be excited to manage the national team, any Spanish coach would be honoured to take this job. But I hope Vicente stays, he is the best coach possible,” Caparros told Marca.

Caparros has managed a host of Spanish clubs including Villarreal, Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Levante, but he is currently out of work.

Among the other names tipped to replace del Bosque is former Spain under-21 boss Julen Lopetegui, Granada coach Paco Jemez and former Marseille coach Jose Miguel Gonzalez.

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