"Worse than the worst possible nightmare for a team that had never conceded more than one goal in a European or World championship since 2008," Spain's leading newspaper El Pais said. "A complete cataclysm."
Madrid, which normally greets victories with blasting car horns and singing along the streets, had gone silent.
"Ladies and gentleman, we've lost the magic touch" sports newspaper AS said.
Spain's defeat in Salvador was also only their fourth competitive loss under coach Vicente del Bosque since he took over in 2008 and has triggered speculation of the team's possible premature return to home.
"Spain started the defence of its title without any defence at all and ended up humiliated by Netherlands," sports newspaper Marca said.
That paper's front page said it even more eloquently: a picture from the match, surrounded by black, with the simple words "Arreglad esto" - or, in English, "Fix this."
It wasn't just the media that was full of gloom: Xavi called Friday’s 5-1 defeat "the hardest loss of my sporting life."
“The positive news is that we're still in the tournament, and nothing is lost," he added. “It was a very bad game. A debacle. We did everything badly. Their goal hurt us. We were all bad. We need to have a look at ourselves. We can't wait to put things right on Wednesday. We want to show this side can improve, and that we can do things at this World Cup. It's hard because we messed up big time."
Sergio Ramos was similarly gloomy, but also tried to focus on the next game.
"It was difficult. It wasn't the start we were after but it isn't the end of things,” he said. “We are all at fault. We wanted another result. We must not take anything away from Holland, who were inspired. When we win, we all win. We don't highlight anyone in particular and we must change what we didn't do well.
“At 1-0 we could've made it 2-0 and we didn't. But the success that this side has comes from lifting itself up from difficult moments. We have to self-criticise. We also need to have the same humility that we have always had. Things happen quickly in football and we shouldn't fill ourselves up with negative energy.”
Coach Vicente Del Bosque said, "It's sport, we lost. It is necessary to accept defeat," he told Tele 5. "We must recognise our mistakes, but everyone fought for a better result. I am aware that it is a very delicate time for us. Together we have to try to solve it for the next match against Chile and look for the win."
The view from Eurosport Spain - 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.
- Sports & Recreation
- Vicente del Bosque