Spain coach Vincente Del Bosque admitted he and a number of players may face consequences from their humiliating World Cup exit after the 2-0 defeat by Chile in the Maracana. It is the first time the reigning champions have been knocked out of the World Cup after just two matches following last week's 5-1 defeat by Netherlands.
Del Bosque said he need to take time to think about his own future and "what is good for Spanish football".
He said: "It's true that when such things happen during a World Cup or a tournament like this then it has consequences but I don't want to start thinking about that right now. We have time to analyse that and it is not the right time now.
"There will be time to think and reflect what we are going to do. I think this team is good but we have to take a decision about what is good for Spanish football and that applies to myself as well."
Del Bosque could leave his job himself, and there will be inevitable calls for some of Spain’s senior players like Iker Casillas, Xavi, Fernando Torres and Gerard Pique to never play for their country again after the debacle in Brazil.
A younger generation of players is coming through, with the likes of Koke and Thiago Alcantara ready to take the place of the old guard.
So where do Spain go from here? Many times has the end of ‘tiki taka’ been signalled, but it might be less a philosophical choice and more of a pragmatic one for the new national coach, assuming Del Bosque is replaced. The younger generation of players, such as Koke, of course still have the famed technique and passing ability that made the Xavi and Iniesta generation so exceptional, but are perhaps slightly more direct than their predecessors. Of course there won’t be a tactical or philosophical revolution in Spanish football, but more of a natural evolution as the pool of players available to them changes. This Spanish team has become tired, not necessarily because they are old (only two of their outfield starters on Wednesday, Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta, is older than 30) but because they are quite literally tired. This generation of players have been so successful and milked so much by the Spanish FA with far-flung tours, in addition to things like the Confederations Cup, that they have barely had a proper break for six years.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Change is required to freshen up the side, not least because no fewer than 10 players have been in the last four major tournament squads, giving the impression that they have become stale. In the immediate future, Del Bosque can do his successor a favour by changing as many of the team as possible for the final, meaningless game against Australia, which means starting with David de Gea if fit, Koke, Javi Martinez et al. The job of the next man will be huge, but the end of this generation should be eased by a careful handover by the man to whom Spanish football should be eternally grateful.
The big game on Thursday is obviously England against Uruguay, with speculation over the selection of both teams’ biggest players. Wayne Rooney looks likely to return to his favoured central role for the clash in Sao Paulo, while Luis Suarez should return for Uruguay after missing their defeat to Costa Rica following knee surgery. Thursday could see more exits from the competition, as defeat for Japan or Greece in the late kick-off (23.00 BST) could see them eliminated, depending on the result of Colombia v Ivory Coast in the other Group C encounter at 17.00 BST.
WHAT XABI ALONSO SAID
“I think it’s a bit of everything. Mentally we weren’t ready, physically maybe the same is true. And putting that all together we weren’t in the best shape. We haven’t been able to maintain the same levels of conviction, of hunger. The success, the happiness of before is gone. We’ve made lots of mistakes; we lost a bit of that know-how and we paid for it. We lost the solidity that had helped us win so many games. We weren’t able to maintain the same ambition and hunger, that real conviction that we were going to go for the title.”
WHAT THE MEDIA SAID
Sid Lowe in the Guardian: "Spain’s era came to an end at the Maracanã, graveyard of great expectations. This was not 1950 and Iker Casillas is not Moacir Barbosa, nor is Charles Aránguiz Acides Ghiggia, but it was historic. The world and double European champions became the first team to leave the 2014 World Cup, knocked out of a major tournament for the first time in eight years. As the second half slipped away, so did Spain’s vital signs. Casillas, the captain who lifted the trophy four years ago, wore a haunted look. Diego Costa, the man Spain had ‘signed’, had departed to insults, unable to score. And Xavi, the ideologue of a philosophy this team espoused, never even took to the field. There was symbolism in his absence. He will probably not be back; Casillas may not be either. Between them they have 289 caps and every medal there is."
- Sports & Recreation
- Iker Casillas
- Del Bosque
- Spanish football