ANALYSIS The warning signs were there as far back as the European Championships in 2012, when those magicians from Spain often looked tired and out of sorts. But their complete destruction of Italy in the final silenced the critics.
Spain also lost badly in the Americas Cup Final to Brazil, and it was this defeat that should have sparked a change in Spain’s approach when confronted by teams that play completely with tremendous athleticism and speed to deny their players the room to pass the ball around, tika taka, before inflicting the killer goal.
That they failed to was exposed first by Holland, who as Australia showed later, are not as good as that 5-1 scoreline suggested, and then yesterday against a good but certainly not exceptional Chile side, a defeat that had ensured their early departure from Brazil 2014.
There’s something very sad about seeing the end of a great side, perhaps the best side to grace the football pitch since the 1970 Brazilians, a side that would have taught the 1982 Brazilians a lesson or two also.
And if this is indeed the end of Spain, who will take up the reins next..that’s the question that’ll be entertaining every football follower for the remainder of this tournament and the rest.