Joaquin unsettles Spain with 'chaos' theory

Joaquin Sanchez has backed down from his description of Spain as being in chaos after he and Raul Gonzalez were dropped for the European Championship qualifier at Sweden.

Spain lost 3-2 to Northern Ireland last month and coach Luis Aragones offered to resign. It was refused but Raul, Sanchez, Mariano Pernia and Borja Oubina were left out for Saturday's Group F game.

"Right now, the national team is a mess, chaos," Sanchez told Spanish radio on Thursday. "And Luis doesn't know how to handle it in these difficult moments. I know that what I'm saying is not going to help me get back into the national team, but it's what I feel."

Aragones retorted from Stockholm with his squad by saying "I don't know why Joaquin said that."

"Spain has never been a mess - neither when I was a player nor now that I'm coach," he said.

But Joaquin said later Friday that his comments had been misinterpreted.

"The only thing I wanted to say is that these are not clear times for the national squad after losing to Northern Ireland .... but it was not my intention to attack the team or Luis Aragones," he said.

Raul, Spain's all-time leading scorer, recently ended an 11-month scoring drought for Real Madrid with two goals in a Champions League match and the equalizer in the derby against Atletico de Madrid.

"Raul could have been left out many times before, but this week he deserves to be in the squad and these things make you feel odd," Joaquin said in his earlier comments. "To be sincere, I don't think I've ever had the confidence of coach Luis Aragones. Not being called this time was no surprise."

But Aragones countered by saying that "of the 29 matches I have been coach, I've picked Joaquin 27 times and played him 20 times. But confidence has to be earned, not given automatically."