Spain's reign ends with a whimper after six years of dominance
Jonathan Wilsonhttp://soccer.si.com/soccer/planet-futbol/2014/06/18/spain-out-world-cup-chile-brazil?eref=sihpRIO DE JANEIRO
-- To watch the collapse of Spain, eliminated from the World Cup after a 2-0 defeat to Chile, was to be reminded of Hemingway’s comment on bankruptcy. The end came gradually, and then suddenly.
Over the past couple of years, slight signs of vulnerability have appeared, in the 3-0 loss to Brazil in the 2013 Confederations Cup final and in surprising defeats in friendlies, which perhaps shouldn’t have been blamed as readily as they were on weariness brought on by the Spanish federation’s determination to flog its champions around the world in search of lucre.
Players aged, hunger waned, doubts crept in. Was Iker Casillas quite as good as he had been? Was Xavi, now 34, running out of legs? With teams more comfortable in combating the tiki-taka style, was there need for a more orthodox center forward? What was going on with Gerard Pique’s defending? Vicente del Bosque was gloomy but dignified in defeat. He avoided any sweeping statements about changes that needed to be made, saying merely that his side had been “shy and sluggish” in the first half and praising his players’ response after the break.
“I would like to have some time to think things over,” he said. “We’ve been together 24 or 25 days. We have trained well, we were fit. We didn’t expect that. We will have to take a decision about what is best for Spain and that applies to my management. We were not brave enough maybe.”