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The brilliance lost, but there is hope

Posted: 19 June 2014 Time: 17:28

Spanish journalist Antonio Aragón reflects on Spain's dismal exit at the 2014 World Cup, but feels there is hope on the horizon.

Spain, as usual, is divided. Last time it was joined, embraced in the same hug, was four years ago, after the South African World Cup, when they sew a golden star on their chest.

But ‘tempus fugit’ and nothing is eternal.

Anyway, it seems that are two bands: the ones that punch the sack of critics, and the ones that show respect to the most glorious generation of players that became soccer in poetry and strung together three big tournaments.

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An era has just ended, though nobody can imagine it would happen in this ugly way.

The cascade of opinions are just the fruits of frustration; opinions that emanate after the disaster. The whole world expected more of the champions against Netherlands and Chile, two teams that overcame the poor intensity of the Spanish players and took advantage of the unusual mistakes committed.

Meanwhile, in attack, the tiki-taka style lost the speed and the precision, becoming tasteless.

Maybe the adversaries learnt how to nullify this kind of soccer, or maybe the Spanish players, who have the highest rate of games played this year, arrived at Brazil unfit, exhausted or overage.

It is obvious if we look at the uncommon mistakes of Casillas (it was Jose Mourinho who decided to sit him on the bench), or the balls lost yesterday by Xavi Alonso, Iniesta or Busquets.

It can also be said that Vicente del Bosque failed in choosing the squad and hadn't initiated the regeneration of the team.

However, the wound is now opened and there is no point in making it bigger. It’s already extremely painful.

These are all a number of issues which, in my opinion, conceal the main one: the current Spanish players, at least the key ones, have lost the brilliance.

I am not referring to their performance. That’s the clear consequence, not the explanation. No, they have lost the gleam in their eyes …the serial killer instinct.

The ambition that was there four years ago has disappeared, as was evident during the Confederations Cup and some friendly games, including the shock defeat to South Africa.

The most difficult part is not reaching the top, it’s staying there.

Spain did it for six stunning years, but the time of this generation is sadly over. But that doesn’t allow us to dismiss the wonderful style that amazed the world and suited perfectly the conditions of the players.

And there is hope: Spain has a new generation of talented players who are making their mark on the world stage: Thiago Alcantara, Isco, Jese, Delofleu … players that, surely, have the appetite for getting Spain back to the top level.

Spain will come back because, after years and years of deceptions, they have finally found their identity; their DNA of success. It’s only a matter of time.

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