Spain undone by their own revolution

“It has been eight long years since Spain were last eliminated from a major international tournament. A 3-1 defeat to France in World Cup 2006 ensured Spain retained their status as Europe’s biggest bottlers, with no hint they were about to become the world’s most successful side — arguably in the game’s history. Amazingly, no fewer than seven players in the starting XI that day — Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas, David Villa and Fernando Torres — were in Spain’s squad for this World Cup, too. That summarises how Spain were simply too old, too tired. Nevertheless, some of the other names from the 2006 side indicate how far Spain have progressed. Mariano Pernia? Pablo Ibanez? They’d also been eliminated from Euro 2004 in embarrassing circumstances, against close rivals and hosts Portugal, failing to progress from the group stage.” ESPN – Michael Cox

Spain’s reign ends with a whimper after six years of dominance
“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.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Fearless Chile end Spain’s reign
“Chile supporters made the most of Rio — indeed, a ticket-less band of them literally invaded the Maracana stadium before the game, charging in through the press entrance in a bid to watch their team. On the morning of the game in the streets of Copacabana, when groups of Chileans ran into each other they would clap and shout out that they were going to send Spain back home — and they seemed to believe it. Such is the faith in the side led by electric little coach Jorge Sampaoli, who seems to run on batteries as he paces up and down the touchline.” ESPN – Tim Vickery

Mighty Spain Goes Out of the World Cup Meekly
“The chants at the game between Spain and Chile began slowly, first from one side of Estádio do Maracanã, then from the other. By the time the final minutes had ticked off the clock Wednesday, tens of thousands of fans had joined in. ‘El-im-in-a-do! El-im-in-a-do!’ — eliminated — said those fans, who were leaping so wildly in their red shirts that they made the stands look like a supersize swath of roiling scarlet cloth. But those fans were not wearing the red jerseys of Spain, the defending World Cup champion and two-time European champion. They were wearing the red shirts of Chile, which eliminated Spain from this tournament in the first round, after Spain had played two games. No past World Cup defending champion had been knocked out of the tournament so quickly.” NY Times


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