After triumphing in the last three major tournaments, few people expected Spain would be the first team to crash out of the World Cup in the group stages. However, their 2-0 defeat to Chile last night followed on from their humiliating 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Netherlands and they have been eliminated after just two matches.
Spain’s performances had an end of an era feel about them after several years of footballing supremacy. Following a lacklustre first half that saw the Spaniards concede two goals from Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz, the players did not seem to have the resolve and determination to fight their way back into the contest.
Though the focus has very much been on Spain’s demise, nothing can be taken away from Chile’s workmanlike performance, combined with more than a little flair, pace and imagination. The next round of fixtures will see Chile and the Netherlands battle for top spot in Group B, while Spain take on Australia with only the prospect of not finishing bottom of the group ahead of them.
Meanwhile, England are making their final preparations ahead of their second group game against Uruguay. The nation will be watching, hoping for a similar level of attacking threat to their first group game against Italy.