It’s a little over five hours since the final whistle blew on what has been another Red Wedding of sorts (ah, querida, La Roja, blood has spilled, figuratively), and I am still wearing my Xabi Alonso shirt. The FIFA World Champions 2010 patch and the single star above the Spanish escudo remind me of this team’s greatest achievement—which seems both etched clearly in my mind and yet long, long ago.
Watching the Netherlands dismantle Spain is nothing less of a nightmare unfolding before your eyes. Sure, there were moments were it was too easy to blame Iker Casillas—but where were Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique in some of those instances? Those three may have been the most culpable for a couple of goals that could have been saved on any other given competition.
Still, more questions needed to be asked. Why take out Xabi Alonso for Pedro Rodriguez who didn’t contribute to anything? Call me incredibly biased, but Xabi has been the midfield maestro since Euro 2012, overtaking Xavi from setting the pace of the midfield (as well as providing adequate cover). Was Diego Costa truly the best man to be put up front? Would it have been a different story if David Villa started? When will Fernando Torres finally overcome the demons in his head? Where were the fullbacks? Jordi Alba and Cesar Azpilicueta were nowhere near tracking back. I missed Alvaro Arbeloa. Has everyone got Spain’s game read like the alphabet?
More importantly: For the ones that ones that won everything, is there anything left to win?
Saying that this is the beginning of the end is quite premature. Defeats will always make Spain have a reflexive conversation with itself—to ask the right questions, to find the right answers.
Just as in 2010 when we lost the opening game, we will bounce back. Tenemos las corazones de campeones.