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RIO DE JANEIRO---After watching Spain miss
one chance after another and slipping to another
loss, Victor Serra walked out of Rio s Maracana
stadium to hordes of Chilean fans yelling "It s
over! It s over!"
It was, for both Spain s World Cup campaign
and its era of dominance that lasted six years but
ended with a 2-0 loss to Chile yesterday.
Serra shrugged off the jeers but other Spanish
fans left the stadium in tears as huge crowds of
Chileans danced in the street. Many Spaniards said
they believed coach Vicente del Bosque erred badly
by stacking his team with seasoned and overcon-
fident veterans instead of choosing younger, more
It was Spain s second loss in Brazil after a 5-1
rout by the Netherlands. And the result ended any
hope the team has of advancing, a bitter end for
a football dynasty that has been ranked number
one in the world for years and won the European
Championship in 2008 and 2012 plus the 2010
"The problem is that Spain has already won
everything and now there just wasn t the passion
to make history again," said Serra, from the southern
city of Valencia.
Using an expression in Spanish to describe how
dead bulls are hauled out of the ring after being
killed by matadors, he said Del Bosque "should
have used younger players, the old guard needs to
be dragged away."
"It s almost like all of what we won before was
a dream," said Beatriz Corral, who came to
Rio from Madrid to cheer for Spain.
"The only happiness we ve had in recent years
has been football. Now the crisis is complete. We
don t have bread or the circus."
Spaniard Ana Peralta gave credit to Chile for
playing extremely well but said the result made it
clear that Spain s team "needs to be renewed" with
fresh talent. Sixteen players on the 23-member
squad also played during the 2010 World Cup.
"Chile played very strongly and aggressively and
just didn t give away any opportunities," she said.
In the Madrid suburb of Pozuelo de Alarcon, fans
who watched the game inside a bar moved outside
to a terrace and glumly sipped beer as they talked
about what went wrong with their team.
"I feel terrible and deceived because we had all
the hope in the world of defending the title and
we ended up so far away from that," said Susana
David Bollon said he was furious with del Bosque,
blaming him for shaming Spain with the losses so
early into the World Cup.
"He didn t have the courage to put in young
players who are hungry," Bollon said. (AP)
Thursday, June 19, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Young Chile cruises into second round
RIO DE JANEIRO---Defending champion
Spain, the dominant global football power
for the past six years, was yesterday elim-
inated from 2014 World Cup contention
with a 2-0 loss to Chile.
Spain s famed passing game failed against
a high-tempo, tenacious Chile team, its era
ending in the storied Maracana Stadium
filled mostly with noisy Chilean support-
ers.Eduardo Vargas tricked goalkeeper Iker
Casillas into diving the wrong way, then
shot into an unguarded goal in the 20th
minute. Charles Aranguiz then scored in
the 43rd when the ball landed at his feet
after Casillas punched out a free kick.
"I only ask fans for forgiveness, we did
everything we could," said Casillas, who
lifted the World Cup trophy four years ago,
after the game.
Spain s second loss, after a 5-1 rout by
the Netherlands, ended any hope of advanc-
ing. Chile and the Netherlands will both
make it to the knockout stage regardless of
who wins between them Monday, which
will only decide the Group B winner.
Spain won the European Championship
in 2008 and 2012, in addition to the 2010
Perhaps the Euro 2012 final was the foot-
balling high point of the era: A 4-0 dis-
mantling of Italy on a similarly balmy
evening in Kiev, Ukraine
Spain came to Brazil with a very similar
--- but older --- team to the one that won
those titles. They added Brazilian-born strik-
er Diego Costa, but he failed to score a goal
and was substituted in both matches.
"We have no excuses," said Spain coach
Vicente del Bosque.
"We were too slow, timid from the start
today. It s a sad day for all of the players.
Time to think about the future."
Spain s "tiki-taka" style of play --- keeping
the ball for long stretches with short passes,
and only shooting when you had a clear
opening --- had not been working as well
in recent years. The stars who had made
the system go are still on the team, but
they ve clearly lost some speed and their
connections haven t been as sharp. Barcelona
midfielder Xavi Hernandez, who often deliv-
ered the key pass, didn t play yesterday.
Spain became the third straight European
defending World Cup champion to flop in
the group stage. France in 2002 and Italy
four years ago also failed to advance, or even
win a match.
Badly needing a win, del Bosque stayed
loyal to captain Casillas despite the veteran
goalkeeper s errors against the Dutch. But
two pillars of Spain s title runs, Hernandez
and Barcelona teammate Gerard Pique were
left out, despite 194 combined appearances.
Xabi Alonso probably should have joined
them. His agonizing first half typified Spain s
problems and his errors led to both goals.
And Alonso s selection left a younger ver-
sion of his former self, Atletico Madrid s
Koke, on the bench until the logical change
was made at halftime.
Alonso gave away the ball to Alexis
Sanchez to start a move down Chile s right
wing by Arturo Vidal and Aranguiz, leading
to Vargas score. Alonso trailed behind the
play and put his hands to his head.
Alonso was booked in the 40th before
conceding another foul, on Sanchez, three
minutes later 22 yards (meters) out. When
Casillas punched away Sanchez s curling
free kick, Aranguiz trapped the ball then
flicked a rising shot spinning away from
the goalkeeper s reach.
Alonso had Spain s best early chance, a
15th-minute shot smothered by Chile goal-
keeper Claudio Bravo.
Often wayward in its passing, Spain
missed two clear chances early in the second
Costa was slow on Andres Iniesta s
threaded pass in the 49th, and Sergio Bus-
quets was guilty of a glaring miss, volleying
wide from five meters in the 53rd.
After Bravo pushed away shots by sub-
stitute Santi Cazorla and Iniesta, Chile s
win was sealed.
Asked if it marked the end of an era,
Casillas said: "We ll focus on the good things
this team did." (AP)
Spain: Iker Casillas, Cesar Azpilicueta,
Jordi Alba, Sergio Ramos, Javi Martinez,
Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso (Koke, 46),
Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Pedro
Rodriguez (Santi Cazorla, 76), Diego Costa
(Fernando Torres, 64).
Chile: Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla, Eugenio
Mena, Francisco Silva, Gary Medel,
Gonzalo Jara, Charles Aranguiz (Felipe
Gutierrez, 64), Marcelo Diaz, Arturo Vidal
(Carlos Carmona, 88), Alexis Sanchez,
Eduardo Vargas (Jorge Valdivia, 85).
by team's loss
Spain's reign ends
Chile's Eduardo Vargas celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Spain in their
Group B World Cup match at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday.
Chile won 2-0 to end Spain's hopes of advancing to the second round. AP PHOTO
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