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Former coach not optimistic about Spain's chances

Spain's controversial Euro 2008 winning coach Luis Aragones is not confident that the Spanish will beat Iberian rivals Portugal in their World Cup last 16 clash later on Tuesday.

sports Updated: Jun 29, 2010 13:59 IST

Spain's controversial Euro 2008 winning coach Luis Aragones is not confident that the Spanish will beat Iberian rivals Portugal in their World Cup last 16 clash later on Tuesday.

The 71-year-old - known as the 'Wise Man of Hortaleza' - said that while Spain had improved since their opening 1-0 defeat by Switzerland the Portuguese could still win with some ease.

"I am not very optimistic," Aragones told a Portuguese TV channel which was retransmitted in Spain.

"Portugal has a superb team and it is going to be very tough for Spain," added Aragones, who is known for his habit of making controversial remarks.

Aragones, who stepped down from the Spain job after delivering their first major trophy in 2008, said that if Portugal deprived the Spanish of the ball then it would be difficult for his former side to progress to the quarter-finals.

"Spain has improved little by little," Aragones conceded grudgingly about the Spanish, who after losing to the Swiss recorded a 2-0 win over Honduras and then topped the group by beating Chile 2-1.

"Its strength is fundamentally keeping possession of the ball. But if Portugal manages to steal the ball from them, I believe that the Portuguese will win, not easily but with a certain comfort zone."

His successor as coach Vicente del Bosque didn't dignify Aragones' comments with a direct response. "It's just another opinion. I have nothing to say," said the Spanish coach.