Spain v Chile: Vicente Del Bosque’s sluggish Spain in danger of quick exit



The mantra adopted by Luis Aragones’s Spain at Euro 2008, right at the start of their historic run of three tournament wins, was a simple one: Pensamientos positivos, meaning positive thoughts. It served them well as they put a cycle of failure behind them and created a winning mindset. But positive thoughts were thin on the ground in the wake of the World Cup holders’ thrashing by the Netherlands.

The front page of sports daily Marca was funeral-black, while “Humiliation” was the headline in El Mundo. Yet if Spain’s heaviest World Cup defeat since a 6-1 thumping by hosts Brazil 64 years earlier was not bad enough, it could soon get worse for the holders. If Spain lose to Chile at the Maracana on Wednesday, they will become the first defending champions to suffer elimination after just two games since that last Brazilian World Cup in 1950 – and the Italy team in question, in fairness, were defending a title won by an entirely different group of players 12 years earlier.

The same hardly goes for Vicente del Bosque’s Spain, who started with seven World Cup winners at the Arena Fonte Nova but ended a stunning evening looking very much like a team at the end of an era. Iker Casillas, a hero in South Africa four years earlier, is no longer first choice at Real Madrid and you could see why as he was caught out of his goal for Robin van Persie’s opening header and laid on Van Persie’s second goal with some suspect footwork .

He apologised for the “worst personal performance of my life” but he was not the only guilty party. Spain conceded only three goals in qualifying and have gone 10 competitive knockout matches without conceding yet, as Gerard Pique admitted, they were “destroyed on the counter-attack”. 

Centre-backs Pique and Sergio Ramos performed poorly while the Spanish midfield could not respond as a younger, vibrant Dutch side sped the ball past them in the second half. If Spain’s success has been, to a large extent, made in Barcelona, it seems inevitable that the decline of that great team would have some knock-on effect on the national team’s fortunes. Spain recovered after losing their opening game in South Africa four years ago, but for Fernando Torres that freak result against Switzerland could not compare with the “total disaster” of Friday 13th in Salvador.

“In South Africa it was a big surprise but we felt it was not merited,” said the Chelsea striker. “This result was a fair reflection of the whole game and we have to be humble and admit we were outplayed in almost every area.” Though Torres argued that “in football you often have a second chance”, the problem for Spain is this second chance is their final chance. A draw against Chile will be of little use, given it would leave them three points behind the South American side – 3-1 winners over Australia on Friday – and potentially six behind the Dutch, who face the Socceroos in their second game.

In short, if the Spanish fail to win they will almost certainly become the third reigning champions in recent history to fall at this stage, after France in 2002 and Italy in 2010. If they do get through, they would most likely meet Brazil in the  round of 16.


Torres warned that Chile would not be easy opponents. Louis van Gaal’s tactics showed how to punish the Spanish with pace and in Alexis Sanchez , Chile have their own speed merchant.  “I’ve seen Chile a few times in the last few years,” he added. “I am not sure they’re the best team to face in a situation like ours. Chile know we will be coming out to win, their coaches, players will want to play on our anxiety.”

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?