In the words of Al Michaels, “I cannot believe what I just saw.” I don’t mean that Chile beating Spain in any way compares to the 1980 “Miracel on Ice,” but I really can’t believe that the team that showed up to Brazil in 2014 is the same Spanish team that throttled everyone in South Africa in 2010 and dominated literally every other tournament for the last six years. There were two ways that this team could have reacted to last Friday’s embarrassing 5-1 loss to Holland: They could have done what champions do, which is pick themselves up by their bootstraps and win, or they could have folded like a cheap card table from Walmart. They put on their best tank tops and cutoff shorts, slipped into their flip flops, grabbed their ten kids and headed for the land of the Rollbacks Sale.
Chile got the scoring started in the 20th minute, when Eduardo Vargas fooled Goalkeeper Iker Casillas and ended up with an open net to hammer the ball into. You could almost see the color leave the Spaniards’ faces after that. It was a palpable feeling of “Oh no, here we go again.” Just 23 minutes later, Casillas made another rookie mistake when he inexplicably dove and punched a free kick back towards the middle of the field, where Charles Aránguiz was waiting to give Chile a 2-0 lead.
Words cannot express just how awful Casillas has been in this tournament. I thought maybe he just had a very bad day against Holland, but I think we’re witnessing the beginning of the end of his international career. I hate to pick on him, because the entire team has looked old and sluggish in this cup. Truth be told, they kind of are. Spain brought 16 of the 23 players from their World Cup winning team of South Africa 2010, including Casillas and much of their starting eleven. In all, they have the eighth oldest roster in this tournament, and they’ve looked terrible.
That being said, I’m not entirely sold on the fact that Spain lost because they are older. They decided to bring Brazilian born Diego Costa with them this year, and the 25 year old was terrible in today’s game. At times, he looked like he had forgotten how to run with the ball, and the ESPN announcers even called him a robot at one point. I didn’t think the team looked too old as a whole, but everyone played with such a lack of discipline, that like I said; I couldn’t believe this was the same “Tiki-taka” team I watched crush the U.S. 4-0 in a friendly at Gillette Stadium Stadium just three years ago. I watched this game in a state of befuddlement.
There are many questions that will plague Spain for the next few months or so (possibly until the next Euro Cup). Was this team too old? Were they ill-prepared? Were they not hungry enough? Were they resting on the considerable laurels they accumulated over the las six seasons? Was it poor coaching or roster construction by head coach Vicente Del Bosque? Did they just take it for granted that they would make it into the Round of 16 just by showing up? Only the 23 guys on that roster, and the coaching staff know for sure.
One thing cannot be denied, however, and that’s that Del Bosque has got a lot of explaining to do when Spain flies home after their last game of the group stage. I really hope he has his resume updated, because he’s going to need it. Vicente Del Bosque won’t just be his name, it will also be used to describe where he lives after this tournament (I told you last time to have your Spanish/English dictionary ready!). In order to move on from this loss, Spain needs to cut ties with as many people from this past era as they can, because it’s over. I know some of their guys are going to be to old for Russia 2018 anyway, but i suspect that even their team for Euro 2016 will have at least a few new faces on it.
Spain simply cannot afford another embarrassment like this one. Check out the goals below to see for yourself.
Vargas Baffles Casillas:
Aránguiz Takes Advantage of Casillas’ Error:
Featured image courtesy of: AFP
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