Round-Up: Spain crash again but Aragones vows to carry on

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The Independent Football

Luis Aragones, the Spain coach, is determined to weather the storm of criticism after his side's 2-0 loss to Sweden, the team's second successive Euro 2008 qualifying defeat.

Spain, who suffered a 3-2 defeat away to Northern Ireland in their previous match, were outclassed by the Group F leaders Sweden. The defeat left Aragones' side in fifth place in the group with three points from three games. A first-half goal by striker Johan Elmander and another by Marcus Allback in the second half gave an impressive Sweden their third win in a row. It is the first time in 15 years that Spain have lost two qualifiers in a row.

"I feel strong enough to carry on," Aragones, 68, said. "I'm not going to make any move to resign. Whether I continue or not will depend on the federation and the press. When you lose two important games, things are difficult, but I've spent a long time in football and dealt with situations like this before."

The Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in Portugal's 3-0 home win over Azerbaijan in their Group A match.

Ronaldo opened the scoring, giving goalkeeper Farhad Veliyev no chance with a shot inside the box. The Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho doubled the lead when he shot home after Ronaldo's free-kick had been parried, and Ronaldo scored Portugal's third with a header.

The round's biggest winners - along with Croatia - were the Czech Republic, who beat San Marino 7-0. The Aston Villa striker Milan Baros scored twice.

Italy put their qualifying campaign back on track by defeating Ukraine 2-0 at Rome's Olympic Stadium on Saturday. The world champions went ahead with a 71st-minute penalty from Massimo Oddo. Luca Toni grabbed the second eight minutes later.

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