Spain coach Vicente del Bosque refused to single out any of his stunned players for blame after the holders crashed to a shocking 5-1 reverse to Netherlands in their World Cup Group B opener on Friday.
Spain took the lead in Salvador through a 27th-minute Xabi Alonso penalty before Robin van Persie levelled a minute before halftime but the ragged world and European champions were outplayed by the Dutch in the second period.
It was their worst defeat at a World Cup since they lost 6-1 to Brazil in 1950 and only their fourth competitive loss under Del Bosque since he took over at the end of 2008.
"It's certainly not a happy moment for us," Del Bosque told a news conference. "As a sportsman, I'd like to congratulate the Dutch side, they overwhelmed us in the second half. At this point it's not time to point fingers of blame. We are all to blame.
"We have to look ahead and go to our next match and secure a win against Chile."
This result could prove to be the death knell for this great Spain team. However, Spain have been imperious for so long that it would not be a huge surprise if they managed to turn this around. They face Chile on Wednesday and the pressure is on. Lose and they are out. This result could prove a blessing in disguise, and jolt them into action.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Vicente del Bosque has some decisions to make before Wednesday game. He is renowned for his loyalty but some of the performances against the Netherlands should see players lose their spot in the team. Gerard Pique was particularly culpable while Diego Costa looks like a square peg in a round hole.
WHAT EUROSPORT SPAIN SAID - JORGE ORDAS
As you can imagine, Spain is today in shock. Nobody can explain why that team could put in such a disgraceful performance. The end of tiki-taka started months ago when Barca and also Bayern Munich in the Champions League were eliminated and now, the Spanish team could die too. One important question from now: What will Del Bosque do? He can either make a revolution, using new and young players and criticse the veterans for their bad game, or he can back them until the end.
WHAT THE MEDIA SAID
Sid Lowe (Guardian): Spain’s game has been about control over the last six years but here they lost it. They were neither quick enough nor strong enough nor well enough organised to stop Holland. The control was lessened still further when Xabi Alonso was withdrawn. Nor did they keep the ball or create sufficient chances, despite getting the first goal early: the goal that usually comes as a guarantee, forcing the other side out. Here the goal, the thing they have most lacked, did not matter because they did not have the control that has always been at the heart of their identity. This was not just a defeat, it was a disaster. In the next few days, the questions will be relentless, forever coming at the Spanish. Much like the Dutch did here.
Rory Smith (the Times): They just kept coming. Wave after wave, streaming forward, wanting more. Holland had already obliterated Spain, burning the world champions away in a pulsating frenzy of counterattacking. They were already 5-1 up. They had already made a statement, loud and clear. It was not enough, none of it. Louis van Gaal’s side wanted to twist the knife, to scorch the earth.
WHAT THE FANS SAY
- Sports & Recreation
- Vicente del Bosque
- Xabi Alonso