Share “Spain faces identity crisis after World...”

Spain faces identity crisis after World Cup loss

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 14, 2014 at 1:01 am •  Published: June 14, 2014

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — With one disastrous result, Spain's World Cup campaign and overall footballing identity is suddenly facing a crisis.

A 5-1 loss to the Netherlands on Friday to open Group B left many wondering whether the team that has dominated world football since 2008 has finally lost its edge — and whether its core philosophy can still remain the same.

Spain also lost its first game at the 2010 World Cup, but that was a 1-0 defeat against Switzerland in a match it dominated. This time it was humiliated, and the loss may have dealt a psychological blow that coach Vicente del Bosque only has five days to address before a must-win match against Chile in Group B.

Del Bosque also has plenty of other questions to address: Does he stick with the core group of players that have led the team to unparalleled success over the past six years? Or does he need to give the nation's famed "tiki-taka" system a revamp?

"Normally if you beat Spain it's 1-0," Netherlands defender Bruno Martins Indi said. "Five-one is not normal because they are amazing players, with a very good head coach, all very experienced."

Spain's midfield of Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, and David Silva faded badly over the second half at the Arena Fonte Nova on Friday. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas' mistakes cost Spain at least a pair of goals, while defenders Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos were guilty of errors on the others.

Spain, whose defense has been steadfast in leading it to consecutive European Championships along with its World Cup win in South Africa, was left in disbelief after the country's worst competitive defeat in 64 years.

"We have to be a team, that's what made us world champions and two-time European champions and that's what we need to remain," striker Fernando Torres said. "You can't point fingers, we have to learn from our errors."

Continue reading this story on the...