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Five Aside

Del Bosque to step down in 2014

Vicente del Bosque has said the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be his last competition as Spain boss.

Del Bosque, who has guided La Roja to the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 trophies, will be 63 in December.

He told Telam agency reporters on a visit to Argentina that he saw himself playing a more ambassadorial than hands-on role once next year's competition is over.

"My final responsibility as Spain national coach will be at the World Cup in Brazil next year," Del Bosque said.

"Afterwards, maybe I will continue to work with the Spanish federation [RFEF] carrying out representative functions like this, travelling to different places and accepting invitations to public events."

Del Bosque, who also takes Spain to this summer's Confederations Cup in Brazil, said he expected Argentina and Brazil to be rivals for the following summer's main event.

"Argentina have a great team, from the midfield going forward, and can count on a player like Lionel Messi who can unbalance any defence," he said.

"I have always been an admirer of Brazilian football. As hosts, they will be one of the main challengers for the trophy."

The former Real Madrid midfielder and coach, who won two Champions League trophies in his three seasons as Bernabeu boss, denied that this week's defeats by Madrid and Barcelona at Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were evidence of a power shift in European football.

"I do not believe that Germany is going to unseat Spain just because of these results," he said.

"We had three teams in the knockout rounds, and now the two ties are still not decided. When that happens, we will speak. We should not get ahead of ourselves. It could be next week we have to take back what is being said at the moment."

Even if Germany looks set to provide both this season's Champions League finalists, Spain is still the leader in world football, Del Bosque said.

"Nobody expected these results as Spanish football is in a privileged position," he said. "The first leg results were very bad. [But] we have two great clubs who represent us stupendously, even with what happened this week.

"We have the best foreign players in our country, we have effective and attractive styles of play.

"Spain has been leading the FIFA ranking for some years now. This shows we are in a good moment, and we cannot enter into pessimism just because of two games."


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