The current World Champions put in the limpest of limp title displays, going out at the earliest possible stage. After an embarrassing 5-1 defeat to the unfancied Dutch they followed it up with a lacklustre display in a must win match against Chile, losing 2-0 and crashing out at the earliest possible stage. This is the same Spanish team which had won the last three international tournaments which it had been involved in and won them convincingly. So the question is what went wrong and is this the end of the Spanish era?
The question of what went wrong is pretty simple to answer, Spain took too much of the same thing to this World Cup (namely midfielders) and expected teams to roll over for them. The problem is that teams have figured out how to play against Spain, the players who make up the first eleven aren’t as good as they were and there is a lack of options to change things up when things go wrong.
In Brazil Spain looked old and tired, especially in that first game against Holland. Spain looked lost for ideas, they looked confused as to why their many passes were not creating the opportunities and space which they desired, and they looked past their best. Possibly ever worse is that the manager Vicente Del Bosque also looked old, tired and lost for ideas.
One of the biggest selection mistakes which Spain made was playing Diego Costa despite the fact that he doesn’t fit their system. It was almost as if they felt obliged to pick him because he chose them over Brazil, rather than picked him because he was in form (which he wasn’t and he was clearly unfit). After losing to Holland Spain needed to ring the changes, players like Azpilicueta, Casillas, Xabi Alonso, Costa and Xavi should all have been dropped; rather only Xavi was dropped and the same lacklustre performance was received. You could also criticise the substitutions which Del Bosque was making, often bringing on Fernando Torres (who is shit) instead of David ‘always plays well for Spain’ Villa.
So is this the end of the Spanish era? I think the answer is quite simply no, it is the end of Spanish dominance but to say the end of an era is too much. I’d be majorly shocked if Spain isn’t right back competing to win the Euro’s and they will deservedly be one of the favourites for the World Cup in Russia. It seems like an odd thing to say now but I believe that the only team which you could argue that took a better 23 to Brazil than Spain is Germany. So for me it isn’t so much that this is the end of an era but rather blatant underachieving.
If you take a look at the Spain squad which went to the World Cup you will see that only five of the outfield players were in their twenties and Villa and Xavi have already announced their retirement, that means by the time the next World Cup rolls around that we will probably see a very similar Spain team be selected to the one which went to Brazil.
More than that look at the young players who are coming through the ranks and weren’t able to make it into the World Cup squad; name like Carvajal, Moreno, Inigo Martinez, Thiago, Isco, Illaramendi, Deulofeu, Tello, Herrera, Muniain, Jese Rodriguez, Morata and I’m sure there will be more that I haven’t mentioned.
That’s the thing about Spain, they were the great underachievers but they no longer are, that means that the future generations won’t have that stigma attached to them and will have more confidence that they can go on and win it all once again. When you look at the players that they have coming through and you look at the age of the players who are currently playing in their first team, you can see that Spain will be back and they may be as strong as ever. All that they require is for the manager to infuse some of the exciting young players with the golden World Cup winning generation and they will once again have the formula for success.
So do you think that this is the end of an era for Spain or do you think it is just the beginning of an exciting new spell in their international legacy? Is Tiki-taka dead or is it more that the players who were playing it weren’t up to the fitness levels required to fully execute? Leave a comment and let everyone know.