We’ve seen quite a few shocks at the World Cup already, with Costa Rica beating Uruguay, Germany routing Portugal with ease, Holland destroying Spain & Australia actually scoring (they’ve been incredible).
But none shocked me more than Spain’s 0-2 loss to Chile, it meant that Spain were out of a competition they had previously ruled, kings of the last 3 major international tournaments. On the same day that the Spanish King Juan Carlos signed his own abdication into law today, Spain signed theirs.
We’ve truly been lucky to live through an era where Tiki-Taka was being utilized in amazing fashion, Iker Casillas has been an incredible captain for that team and those in front of him on the field had been playing at the highest level for so long, it showed that there might be time for a new generation.
Xavi, a man who encompasses Spain’s philosophy so well, was left out, it was a philosophy that this team did not carry in the first two matches and a philosophy we might not see again for a while.
Iniesta and Silva seemed like the only bright sparks over the 90+ minutes at the Maracana. Jordi Alba and Azpilicueta bombed forward and exposed their backline constantly to Chile, a backline both Busquets and Alonso failed to defend. Llorente and Negredo had better seasons than Torres, Costa was playing 70% at best, and David Villa was ready to retire in the MLS.
There was no control, no confident incise passing throughout, Tiki-Taka wasn’t dead, it had been assimilated.
Spain were playing with Diego Costa as a target man, an out of legs Xavi, a defence that made plenty of errors and lacked cohesiveness in the absence of Puyol, it wasn’t tiki taka, it was something else.
Spain have graced us with amazing football over the past 6-7 years, they owned an era. They did it over a period with little change in their style, with very beautiful passing and close control. We’ve been lucky to experience this era, for some that grew up hating Spain, perhaps very unlucky.
This was the biggest wake up call Spain needed, although Spanish supporters would have wished for it to come in a far less embarrassing fashion than it did.
They might have suffered the same fate as France in 2002 and Italy in 2010, but they have a far better team to recover with, come the next international tournament.
Spain have De Gea, Alba, Inigo Martinez, Montoya, Azpilicueta, Martinez, Thiago, Koke, Isco, Herrera, Jese all under 25.
Spain are spoiled with talent and probably only need a little change and a little more luck in the next international tournament, but adios España, its been a pleasure watching you over the last 6 years and I’m sure you will find your way back near the top sometime soon.
I feel that if we could possibly, only for a moment, have a look at the Chilean performance and realize it was something incredible, out of this world and possibly up there as one of the biggest upsets of the World Cup in living memory (provided you are younger than 25).