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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 16, 2006

Aragones frustrated by defeat to Romania

MADRID, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Spain coach Luis Aragones was frustrated after his side's 1-0 friendly defeat at home to Romania on Wednesday left him with few positives to take into the return of Euro 2008 qualifying action next year.

Aragones put out an experimental side in Cadiz, with three players earning their first caps, but a 58th-minute goal from Romanian striker Ciprian Marica condemned Spain to their third defeat in four outings.

'I think we have seen a first half among the best Spain have played. But when you lose you can never be satisfied,' said Aragones.

'At first we dominated and created chances but their goal made us nervous, and they were stronger after that. In football if you don't kill off games when you can, you see what happens.'

The first half was an improvement on the games when Spain lost to Northern Ireland and Sweden recently, as they moved the ball around quickly and with purpose.

Spain's debutant midfielder David Silva of Valencia was the game's standout player as he probed down the left flank, but as time went on it was their traditional failings that came to the fore.

Despite dominating possession they failed to make it count against a well-organised Romanian defence, and they were hit on the break.

'It is a worrying run we are on. No international game is just a friendly,' Aragones added.

The Spanish media had a stronger take on the coach's tinkering, as did fans in the stadium who jeered the players off the pitch at the end.

'Absolute disaster,' said sports daily AS, while El Mundo said 'This Spanish side are losers'.

Barcelona-based sports daily Mundo Deportivo described the game as a 'pathetic experiment,' and added 'drifting Spain have a complete lack of punch.'

Aragones has four months to come up with solutions before the serious business of Euro 2008 qualification returns in March with crucial home matches against Denmark and Iceland.

Spain are fifth in Group F, nine points adrift of leaders Sweden, who have played a game more, and four behind second-placed Denmark.