Where now for the all-conquering Spanish?
Published 13/06/2014 | 22:33
Holland dramatically altered the landscape of the World Cup with a destruction of the holders and the question is just how will Vincente Del Bosque’s side recover?
Europe’s leading lights were considered not be the force they once were, yet strong enough to make it historic back-to-back World Cup titles to continue their domination of international football.
That of course still remains more than a distinct possibility and few would bet against the star-studded side taking their anger out on Chile and Australia, but the damage may already be too great.
If results go as expected, then Spain would face the hosts in the next round, a difficult proposition for any side, but particularly a weary one coming towards the end of its period of dominance.
The ease at which his side were carved open will give Del Bosque serious food for thought and all his managerial nous will be called into action to repair the self-belief in the squad.
For the Dutch, expectations won’t sky-rocket in spite of the stunning success. Louis Van Gaal is in charge of a team where a collection of new faces and unheralded names is not expected to be in contention at the business end of the tournament.
Should they remain in the hunt by the start of July, Van Gaal’s stock will rise further before he departs for Manchester, yet if they bow out it can be put down to inexperience.
Del Bosque has no such free pass and his team selection next time out against Chile will be fascinating.
In the last World Cup they overcame an opening defeat, not in the same manner, to claim the top prize.
The Spaniards have it all to do in order for lightning to strike twice.