Spain is out from the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas asks for forgiveness from millions of supporters worldwide.
Worldwide support has grown for the Spanish national squad extending beyond Spanish spectators, especially after the team won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
It was a winning team no doubt. Many of the players involved in all three victories are still in the squad. Despite proving a winning formula, the team came crashing back down to earth in the first round of the World Cup.
The defending champions suffered back-to-back humiliations from two teams seeking revenge and vindication. Their opening match against the Netherlands was a repeat of the 2010 finals were the Iberian side emerged on top. This time around, the Oranje massacred the Spaniards with a 5-1 score line.
The second match in Group B saw Spain going up against Chile in a crucial do-or-die match at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Chile's national team may not have a grudge against Spain but they have a score to settle with the Maracana stadium itself.
Flashback to September 1989 when Brazil were up against Chile 1-0 in a qualifying match for the World Cup in Italy the following year-an incident involving flares and faked injury by the Chilean keeper resulted in the team being banned from the 1994 World Cup. This was the first time Chile returned to the Maracana since then. The return had a loud bang by taking out the defending champions.
In the wake of the match against the Netherlands, Spanish captain received a lot of flak for what many perceived to be a lackluster performance on his part after letting through five goals. Casillas was quick to admit his part in the resulting slaughter of his team. But Spain's Coach Vicente del Bosque and teammate Sergio Ramos were quick to defend him.
Now, after another defeat and the team's elimination, fans and observers seemed to see many other faults and weaknesses in the team and management.
Casillas was once again quick to admit that the team was not at par with expectations and in an interview with TELE 5, he voiced out his apologies.
"We wanted to do everything possible to maintain the people's dream but we couldn't do it. We ask for forgiveness and we are the primary ones responsible. We leave hurt and annoyed."
Vicente del Bosque, for his part, also has words about the defeat, saying fingers must not be pointed at them and decisions about the team's future would be settled at another time.
"We don't have any excuses. We didn't meet the standards expected of us, though I would like to say that the team showed character. We pushed forward but we didn't have any luck. Now is not the time to think about the team's future or mine. There'll be plenty of time for that, but not right now."