The World Cup Champions’ Curse
It has happened yet again. It occurred in 2002 in South Korea, when then World Cup 1998 champions France were unceremoniously knocked out of the group stages. Then, fast forward eight years, Italy find themselves in the same situation in South Africa, having won the 2006 edition. Now, in Brazil and in far worse fashion than the nations just mentioned, Spain have been humiliatingly knocked out after only their second match.
Having dominated the international scene for the past six years since their Euro 2008 victory, the era has indeed ended, prompting several disappointed facial expressions among the Spanish team.
La Furia Roja were lacking the fury and determination which made them the best national football team in recent years. Their over-reliance on the tiki taka style adopted via Barcelona players has paid its price, as even Barcelona’s tactics have become predictable.
The disgraceful manner of their 5-1 defeat against the Netherlands helped highlight the abundance of weak spots within Spain’s footballing tactics, with a jittery defensive line which is highly susceptible to quick and slick counter attacking.
Then came the 2-0 defeat against Chile, with the latter emerging as true deserved winners. Once again, Casillas, which was already at fault for a few howlers in the match against the Netherlands, made another mistake which contributed to Chile’s second goal, further condemning the defending champions into a pit of despair from which they cannot climb out of.
Saying Spain need a re-haul of the team is not the solution. What Spain require are a new set of tactics, a new footballing mentality, as their reliance on tiki taka has cost them dearly, which is what is also happening to club Barcelona.