RIO DE JANEIRO, June 19: Spain coach Vicente del Bosque could not hide his disappointment after the holders were eliminated from the World Cup following a 2-0 defeat to Chile in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.
“It is a sad day for all of us,” he said after Spain were left without a point from two games in Group B, having lost 5-1 to the Netherlands in their opening match last Friday.
“We are sorry we didn’t succeed (but) now is too early to analyse where we go from here.
“We were inferior to both Holland and Chile. They got the goals and gave us a mountain to climb. We were too timid in the first half and did not react sufficiently in the second.
“The first goal really buoyed them and they really got into our faces.”
The defeat marks a huge fall from grace for Spain, winners of the last two European Championships as well as the 2010 World Cup but joined the other side in their group Australia in being the first two teams to be knocked out of these finals.
“These things happen in sport. It was unexpected, but we need to deal with it. We were unable to maintain the levels of conviction and hunger that brought us success and happiness before,” said midfielder Xabi Alonso, the 32-year-old veteran of more than 100 games for his country.
“We committed a lot of errors and didn’t have the solidity that had helped us win so many matches. We didn’t have the same feeling on the pitch that we had during other championships. Mentally we were not ready and physically we were struggling a little.”
Captain Iker Casillas, who has come in for heavy criticism for his performances at these finals after a difficult two years at club level, hinted that a lack of hunger cost the holders dear.
“The level of commitment was not what we wanted it to be,” said the goalkeeper. “We didn’t deserve to go through to the next round. We have been beaten by superior teams.”
“I have not played well and neither has the team in general. Now we need to be even more united and finish in the most dignified manner possible.”
Defender Sergio Ramos added: “Evidently it was unexpected but we must accept defeat and congratulate Chile and Holland for being better than us.”
The Real Madrid player refused to accept that it was the end of an era for Spain, but acknowledged that past achievements count for nothing now.
“I think this team has achieved things that almost nobody else has and that should not be forgotten. The players remain the same but luck maybe wasn’t on our side.
“These years of success cannot be used as an excuse because we don’t live in the past. We came here with hope but we weren’t up to it.
“I don’t think that it is the end of a cycle. I just feel that from Vicente right through to the last man we came here with the intention of doing well, but now it is our turn to be knocked out early.”
On the future of Del Bosque, he added: “We don’t have a voice or a vote. The first person who must decide whether he will continue or not is him. Obviously we all respect him. He is a magnificent coach and person and he deserves respect whatever he does.”
Meanwhile, after seeing his side secure their place in the last 16 alongside Holland, Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli said: “I am proud of the way we played to put out the world champions. It was a great win over a great team.”