Defending FIFA World Cup Champions Spain suffered a crushing defeat in the opening match of their title defence last Friday. La Furia Roja went down in flames in the hands of The Netherlands who were incidentally, the side they defeated in 2010 to clinch the title. The final score was 5-1 in a match that could have easily ended 8-1 in the eyes of many observers. Even Legendary Argentine player Diego Maradona commented that Spain were weak and a lot of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of captain Iker Casillas. Maradona event went as far as saying that Jose Mourinho is justified for benching Casillas in Real Madrid's La Liga games when Mourinho was still there.
Casilas, instead of fighting back, is taking a huge chunk of humble pie and is quick to reflect on what has happened and admit his part in the disaster as reported by Marca.com.
"Now we have to be quiet, reflect and think about the next match against Chile, which we will approach like a final. We owe the fans an apology, myself first and foremost. We have to accept all the criticism that will come our way and forget what happened as soon as possible," said Casillas.
The Spanish team managed to score first through a penalty kick taken by Xabi Alonso after Diego Costa was taken down in the box. It all went downhill from there and Casillas was made to scramble and fumble his was across his goal line eventually letting through five goals.
Casillas took responsibility and is ready to think positive and look ahead to the next match instead of dwelling on the loss: "I wasn't up to scratch and I accept that. We weren't at the races, starting with myself. Now all we can do is focus on the next game. I accept the blame. We have to think about the next match. Our heads dropped when they scored the third goal."
This puts Casillas' authority over the team in jeopardy and Vicente del Bosque might need to make some tough decisions soon to determine his captain's fate. In a similarly poor showing, Casillas nearly caused Real Madrid the UEFA Champions League Trophy when he let a lobbed goal through after he was caught off the line. Speculations have thereafter risen that his position at Real Madrid might also be in jeopardy.
Despite the worldwide criticism after the defending champions were slaughtered by the Dutch, Casillas claims they can recover and bounce back. The team also lost their opening match in 2010 against Switzerland before going on to win the entire tournament albeit not as badly as this loss. The team will once again attempt emerge from a first match loss and come out with guns blazing.
"We're mature enough to take the criticism. We have to face the music," ended Casillas.