Defending champions Spain were dealt a heavy blow by 2010 runners-up Netherlands in their opening game for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Dutch team were out for revenge and that was just what they did, slaughtering Spain with a 5-1 final score which is mild compared to the many other chances that the Oranje had to score again during the game. Spanish captain Iker Casillas was the first one to raise his hand and admit his part in the team's failure by saying that he was not up to scratch.
Real Madrid teammate and Spanish International defender Sergio Ramos and National team manager Vicente del Bosque were the first ones to defend Casillas but both admit that changes within the team would have to be made.
"As always Casillas has given proof of his captaincy and his commitment to the national team. I remember when I came back to the changing room after the press conference, he was talking to his team-mates, acting as a captain." said Del Bosque.
"I'll live with the critics. I don't go mad with the praise, nor will I be drowned by the criticism. Now we all have to do our bit. The veterans and the young players-we have to accept what happened, but we are a group of champions and we can't blame individuals. Much is expected of us, but now more than ever we are united. We have not been sent home yet." continued Ramos.
La Furia Roja would need to regroup quickly ahead of tonight's match against Chile which they need to win to keep any hopes of keeping their title-defence alive. Spain, having won the last two European Championships and the last World Cup is one of the few teams who did not opt for a youthful new roster but instead picked a majority of players who have a lot of experience in the national team.
"We have brought 16 of our 23 players that are world champions. They have taken part in qualifying and have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and done well in La Liga. We have brought them because we are convinced that they are the best, even if others may have a different opinion. We do have seven new players." commented Del Bosque about his selection.
The team is fired up and will be looking at the match against Chile as if it were the final. FC Barcelona fullback Jordi Alba feels that the team admit their mistakes and can now move forward and keep fighting.
"It was an accident, we conceded stupid goals but we need to keep going. In the first-half we were superior and in the second-half our level dropped. We are the ones that win or lose and we need to be stronger than ever now. We need to believe we can still qualify for the last 16." said Alba.