RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — After watching Spain miss one chance after another and suffer a second straight humiliating loss at the World Cup, Victor Serra and other Spanish supporters walked out of Rio's Maracana stadium to hordes of Chilean fans yelling "It's over! It's over!"
It was, for both Spain's World Cup campaign and its era of dominance that lasted six years but ended with a 2-0 loss to Chile on Wednesday.
Serra shrugged off the jeers but other Spanish fans left the stadium in tears as huge crowds of Chileans danced in the street. Many Spaniards said they believed coach Vicente del Bosque erred badly by stacking his team with seasoned and overconfident veterans instead of choosing younger, more hungry players.
It was Spain's second loss in Brazil after a 5-1 rout by the Netherlands. And the result ended any hope the team has of advancing, a bitter end for a football dynasty that has been ranked No. 1 in the world for years and won the European Championship in 2008 and 2012 plus the 2010 World Cup.
"The problem is that Spain has already won everything and now there just wasn't the passion to make history again," said Serra, from the southern city of Valencia.
Using an expression in Spanish to describe how dead bulls are hauled out of the ring after being killed by matadors, he said Del Bosque "should have used younger players, the old guard needs to be dragged away."
Even more crushing for Spaniards is the fact that the country's football success has been one of the few joys that Spaniards have had following punishing years of recession and a near meltdown of the economy in 2012 that has left a staggering one out of every four Spaniards jobless.
The rate is double that for Spaniards under the age of 25, many of whom have emigrated elsewhere in Europe and to Latin America for jobs.
"It's almost like all of what we won before was a dream," said Beatriz Corral, who came to Rio from Madrid to cheer for Spain. "The only happiness we've had in recent years has been football. Now the crisis is complete. We don't have bread or the circus."