Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Defending champ Spain ousted from World Cup

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — With its stars aging and its loyal coach slow to blend in young talent, Spain's reign as the superpower of world soccer was bound to end.

The Spaniards weren't favored to repeat as World Cup champs, but few expected a collapse. On Friday, they lost 5-1 to the Netherlands. On Wednesday, they lost 2-0 to Chile to be eliminated — before even playing their final group game.

"If you think about everything we accomplished and you told me we would be eliminated in group stage, I wouldn't believe you," coach Vicente del Bosque said. "We have no excuses."

Spain's the first defending champion eliminated with one game left in the group stage. It's a bitter end for a 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.

"Success is not eternal," said Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli, whose team clinched a spot in the knockout stage. "This generation could not continue with that success. It's very special the fact we were able to play against the World Cup champions the way we did … and eliminate them with courage, intensity and attack."

Del Bosque acknowledged his players were "too slow, timid from the start."

Chile twice almost scored in the first 90 seconds and took the lead in the 20th minute when Eduardo Vargas finished a move of incisive passing that was Spanish in its execution.

The second goal came in the 43rd when goalkeeper Iker Casillas punched a free kick to the feet of Charles Aranguiz, who fired in the rebound.

Midfielder Xabi Alonso exemplified the struggles of Spain's veterans. His giveaway led to the first goal. Trailing behind the play, he put his hands to his head as the ball went in. He earned a yellow card. And he conceded the foul that prompted a free kick that led to the second goal. His usual accurate passing was off, and he was taken out at halftime.

"We didn't know how to maintain our hunger or that conviction needed to win a tournament," Alonso said. "The joy and success we've experienced is over. We lost our know-how, which has helped us win so many of these … games."

Said Casillas: "I only ask fans for forgiveness. We did everything we could."

Netherlands 3, Australia 2: The Dutch had to work much harder for a win against the Cup's lowest-ranked team than defending champ Spain in Porto Alegre. Robin van Persie tied it in the 58th. Soon after, substitute Memphis Depay's shot from about 25 yards put the Netherlands ahead for good and into the knockout stage. Australia is 62nd in the world. Said van Persie: "In a tournament, you can't play every game fantastically from beginning to end."

Croatia 4, Cameroon 0: Mario Mandzukic scored twice as Croatia kept alive its hopes for advancing in Manaus. Mandzukic missed the 3-1 loss to Brazil after picking up two yellow cards during qualifying. "I don't want to think too much about goals," he said. "We wanted to win, and the goals came as a reward." Cameroon, which was eliminated, played without its star, forward Samuel Eto'o, because of a right knee injury. Midfielder Alex Song was ejected for elbowing Mandzukic in the back in the 40th minute. The frustration boiled over in injury time when Benoit Assou-Ekotto head-butted teammate Benjamin Moukandjo.

Today's schedule

Colombia vs. Ivory Coast, noon, ESPN

Uruguay vs. England, 3, ESPN

Greece vs. Japan, 6, ESPN

Champs to chumps

Defending champions who failed to advance past the group stage in its next World Cup:

Year Champ Record

2014 Spain 0-2-0

2010 Italy 0-1-2

2002 France 0-2-1

1966 Brazil 1-2-0

1950 Italy * 1-1-0

* 1936 champion; the 1940, 1944 and 1948 World Cups were canceled because of World War II and its aftermath

Defending champ Spain ousted from World Cup 06/18/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL Week 3: What we learned


    Take the knee … well, not NOW

     1. Photo of Roger Mooney for Times Sports.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Chris Archer's primary problem Sunday, as in much of September, was a lack of slider command. When he can't throw it where he wants, and doesn't have the confidence in the changeup to throw it often, he can't win with just his fastball.

  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. Bradenton high school senior Chasten Whitfield inspires young anglers


    MADEIRA BEACH — The kids lined up single file, snow cones in hand, a procession of sweaty, excited grade schoolers watching Chasten Whitfield throw a cast net.

    Whitfield, a senior at Bradenton Manatee, demonstrates how to throw a cast net at the FishKids tournament in Madeira Beach. She also taught knot tying.
  5. Wreck helps Kyle Busch take control of Monster Cup's ISM 300

    Auto racing

    LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch saw little but billowing white smoke that engulfed the track and blinded enough drivers that it caused a tremendous wreck that notably altered the race running order.

    Kyle Busch celebrates with a burnout after his third victory of the season that earns a berth in the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs. He also has some fun with Loudon the Lobster.