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Jun 19, 2014

  • Spain lost 2-0 to Chile ending any World Cup hopes.
  • Both Chile and Netherlands have qualified from Group B.
Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it Thomas Paine

For a second time in running, the defending Champion in a World Cup has said good-bye before the tournament has kicked into his third gear. Last World Cup Italy suffered the indignity of exiting in the Group stages, this time Spain continued that tradition. This is the third time in a row this is happening with a European side. In 2002, France ended at the bottom of the Group, 2010 Italy maintained that tradition by securing the bottom place and now it Spain looks to be on course. By current playing form Australia looks more dangerous that Spain. So a bottom place finish is beckoning, will the Spaniards Oblige? May be this is the in-trend with the European World Champions.

The moment tide started turning against the Spanish in the encounter with the Dutch, the Spanish media had identified the culprits. For them it was always Xavi Hernandez. It's not a new thing, the Madrid and Catalonia based media houses were trying to tell the world how Xavi has lost the touch for the last one year. This for them was a vindication of their prophecy. It didn't matter to them that in a host of below par performances against Dutch, Xavi's performances was decent. It always was the fault of one person and one person alone. They put Pique as a partner to him and screamed for their removal. Vicente del Bosque, the ungrateful Boss obliged!

Xavi and Pique were brandished to the side-lines, as asked. Koke was brought in as a saviour, wasn't big a surprise. There is a host of Barca fans who argue that Koke should be bought in as the replacement to Xavi. Those with a simple footballing brain could identify from the start that the formation would never work. Without Xavi Hernandez, there would be no control in midfield, forget tiki-taka! And that match was a testimony to that fact. The brilliant Koke could not control the tempo in the midfield because he has never done that. He is brilliant as that central midfielder when there is defensive cover available. That definitely was missing with an out of sort Busquets and Alonso in the middle.

That precisely was why Spain struggled in the first match. Both Busquets and Alonso were getting over run in the middle but the fans and media put the entire blame on Xavi. No one else have to undergo this kind of scrutiny lately. Even Del Bosque, were affected by these comments. One could see that it the eleven he selected. It was not one which selected to correct the problems faced by the team, it was one which was asked precisely by the Spanish media. He should have dropped both Busquets and Alonso and brought in Martinez and Koke in their place. His decision to use Martinez as a defender baffled everyone, for heaven's sake that was usually considered to be an emergency option.

The blame for the whole debacle should lie solely with Del Bosque. He simply was getting swayed by every emotions expressed in mainstream media. That saw he forcing Costa in to the starting line-up, even though he has not played much with the National team. I am not saying his selection was a mistake, but rushing him in to the starting eleven was too hasty. He could have provided a brilliant Plan B, but he had no place in Plan A of Spain's strategy. Then the handling of Xavi, the legend who was the reason for all the Spanish Success in recent times was baffling. He was no reason for Spain's debacle, but it was portrayed as the sole one. At least Vicente Del Bosque should have known that.

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