Friday, 20 June 2014

An Obituary to Spain.

Witnessing a shambolic 5-1 defeat handed by the vendetta seeking Dutch, it appeared as if the Spanish football team had already booked their return tickets. And to the dismay of millions of fans their worst nightmare came true when Chile- The South American Underdogs took out the Defending Champions in the 'Life or Death' group stage match.

Dumped out of the World Cup after just two group games on the same day that King Juan Carlos abdicated his throne and signed it over to Prince Felipe, the nation's footballers have now relinquished the crown they once wore with distinction. 

The winds of change were evident when star players Xavi and Piqué were benched for the match against Chile. An ineffective and lackluster Xabi Alonso was also replaced by his young and rightful successor Koke after half time. But Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aránguiz of Chile had already done the damage.

An era of footballing supremacy coming to an end, La Roja's may well have to reinvent their tiki-taka style of play. The national team comprised of players from the top English and Spanish leagues, but this immiscible admixture of players with contrasting playing styles proved suicidal for the country. Although, being hailed as the best team on paper with 3 players from it in the World XI, the on-field performance was equally embarrassing. The possession based gameplay of Barcelona and the Counter-attacking tactics of Real Madrid put together made a total curry. It was clearly evident that Del Bosque's men were confused, low spirited and had no proper strategy against both Netherlands and Chile. No more so than veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas -- the captain, the man who despite having not featured regularly for club side Real Madrid kept his place in the team.

For the past six years, this Spanish side has thrilled those who marveled at its tiki-taka passing and ability to make the game look so effortless. For so long a perennial failure, its victory at the 2008 European Championship finals ushered in a period of almost flawless football. Victory at the 2010 World Cup was secured courtesy of a win over the Netherlands, while it retained its European crown comfortably two years later. But the signs of weakness have been growing ever since it was swept aside in last year's Confederations Cup in Brazil. The 3-0 defeat by the host nation in the final shocked not only seasoned observers but also those who had believed Spain's domination would surely continue. The loss certainly puts the future of the illustrious Del Bosque's reign into a precarious state.

Gone are days for the likes of Casillas, Alonso, Xavi, Torres and Villa, the ones who ruled the world football for almost 6 years. With more than 100 caps each, I think these veterans need to hang their boots and pass on the baton to the young players who are determined and hungry for glory. As a diehard Spanish football fan myself, I hope that this eclipse marks the heralding of a new dawn with the ushering of fresh talent to carry the legacy forward. And with the U-21 national team winning 2011 and 2013 UEFA European Championships there is no denial that La Rojita's (The Little Red ones) have it in them to take the Spanish flag on top again.

2016 edit: 100+ caps for Iniesta, Ramos, Piqué and Fabregas for nothing. Over dependence on De Gea. Players failed to display their international club level playing ability. Lackluster defending. Euro 2012 scorer, Mata not even in the squad! Time for Del Bosque to part. How the hell is he still there!? Full marks to Buffon - A living legend. Unarguably the safest 8 yards are  the one he guards.

PS: Spain's Home ELEVEN.