Holders Spain crashed out of the FIFA World Cup in embarrassing fashion at the group stage after a 2-0 defeat to Chile.
On a night when the pre-match build-up was dominated by trouble behind the scenes at the Maracana, as Chile fans stormed the stadium’s media centre bringing down temporary walls, on the pitch there was similar chaos for the holders as their era of dominance on the international stage was brought to an abrupt end.
After a 5-1 hammering against the Netherlands in their opening Group B clash, midfielder Xabi Alonso had insisted that reports of Spain’s demise were “exaggerated”.
He was wrong, and Spain are now out, after a game in which Vicente del Bosque’s side looked weary and one-dimensional against their well-organised South American opponents.
Having fallen behind to Eduardo Vargas’ well-taken 20th-minute finish and been pushed to the brink by a second from Charles Aranguiz – helped by some bizarre goalkeeping from Iker Casillas – rarely did a comeback ever look likely.
Del Bosque dropped Barcelona duo Gerard Pique and Xavi following the humiliation against the Dutch, but the change in personnel made little difference as they capitulated once again.
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