Spain Stunned by Humiliating World Cup Opener
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque admits the holders were stunned by their 5-1 hammering at the hands of the Netherlands in their opening World Cup match on Friday.
The defending holders and European champions were thrashed in their Group B opener as the Netherlands exacted emphatic revenge for the defeat in the 2010 final.
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie and Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben both netted twice, while centre-back Stefan de Vrij also got on the scoresheet. Worryingly for del Bosque, it could have been more as the Dutch fired in a flurry of late shots as the Spanish defence capitulated in Salvador.
"We didn't react well to Van Persie's second goal -- they were euphoric and they hammered us," said del Bosque.
"In the second-half, they were simply better than we were and they overwhelmed us. Now isn't the time to point the finger of blame at each other, we are all to blame. We need to try to find solutions and win the two remaining games, starting with our next game against Chile."
In a group that was always expected to be hotly contested and liable to be settled by goal difference, Spain now have little margin for error if they are to avoid a stunning first round elimination. "It is one of the toughest defeats of my career," admitted the 34-year-old Xavi. "We did everything wrong in the second-half, it was a debacle."
Spain conceded two goals at the last World Cup and three in their qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014, leaving Del Bosque at a loss to explain the five-goal mauling. "I can't find the words to explain that, we are normally solid in defence, but today we were very weak," said Del Bosque.
"You have to acknowledge the performances of Van Persie and Robben."
Spain bounced back from losing their first game at the last World Cup to Switzerland by winning the South Africa 2010 title. The 63-year-old Del Bosque was praised for sticking to his principles despite defeat to the Swiss four years ago and is likely to do so again.
That loyalty to those who have won in the past has borne great success over his six-year spell in charge with the Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 titles combined with their 2010 World Cup win However, next up for Spain is the side Del Bosque admitted before December's draw he wanted to avoid the most when his team play Chile in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.
Del Bosque insisted it was not a matter of fitness in Salvador with the fall-out of this defeat set to take days to settle. "It wasn't a question of fitness, their second goal gave them a lift and heightened their performance," said the Spaniard.