Spain lost its first game at the 2010 FIFA World Cup but went on to win the tournament.
Spain lost its first game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Will Spain win the 2014 World Cup?
It doesn’t look like it will.
The Netherlands overran Spain in the opening game of Group B on Friday. The Dutch scored four second-half goals en route to a historic 5-1 victory over the defending world champion. It was Spain’s worst World Cup defeat since 1950 when it lost 6-1 to Brazil.
“I can’t find the words to explain it,” Spain head coach Vicente del Bosque said after the game, according to the Associated Press. “I don’t want to point fingers at anybody. A team’s defeat doesn’t come down to just one player. I don’t want to point fingers at (Casillas) or anyone.”
“This was a total disaster,” Spain striker Fernando Torres said.
One defeat doesn’t end Spain’s World Cup defense. Spain plays Chile on June 18 and Australia on June 23. If Spain recovers its best form, it should beat both teams.
But the result and manner of Spain’s loss to the Netherlands indicates that a quick recovery and positive response against Chile isn’t a forgone conclusion.
Spain won titles at the 2008 UEFA European Championships, 2010 World Cup and the 2012 UEFA European Championships on the strength of a suffocating defense. But this Spanish national team conceded more goals than it did at the 2010 and 2012 tournaments combined.
Chile won the other Group B game on Friday, defeating Australia 3-1. It sits second in the group standings on goal differential. Spain doesn’t control its own destiny in a group whose runner-up faces the winner of Group A in the round of 16. The smart money says host nation Brazil will be that opponent.