Spain lost the opening game against Switzerland four years ago in South Africa but still went on to win the World Cup for the first time.
This time round, following their 5-1 demolition at the hands of their European archrivals the Netherlands in Group B on Friday night, leaves them in danger of not progressing from the group. On paper, not many see such a scenario happening, yet in reality, it’s very much possible and they won’t be the first holders not to get out of the group. Anyone remember France in 2002? So don’t say there is no precedent. If it was revenge that the Dutch were looking for following the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the final four years ago, then they got it in overdose. Not very many teams win 5-1 against Spain.
After this defeat, I don’t see how the Spaniard can much fear in their next two group opponents, Chile and Australia—two teams that would now fancy their chances of upsetting the reigning World and European champions.
Some would say that the Vicente del Bosques’ team needed to be on the receiving end of such a beating in order to realize they are not immortals and also need to regain the motivation and hunger that saw them win back to back European title the World Cup in between.
Nonetheless, we should not rush into making conclusion that this is the end of Spain—great teams know how to respond to any kind of adversity and you would expect Spain to do exactly that.
How they do it against a very hardworking Chile side in their next game in Wednesday remains to be seen, and if another disaster strikes (God forbid) and the South Americans, who won 3-1 against Australia, pull off a shock win, then expect a few head to role in the Spanish camp.