Chelsea FC’s Fernando Torres, Cesar Azpilicueta, and the Spanish national team have crashed out of the World cup at the group stage against Chile. Many pundits expected the Spaniards to come out strong after an embarrassing defeat to the Netherlands in their opening match but it was not the case. Spain looked slow and off the pace against a dynamic Chile squad who consistently won the battle in midfield.
On paper it was expected that Spain would top their World Cup group with Holland and Chile fighting it out for the second spot. Australia was going to be the easy match each team circled on their schedule but that has not worked out as expected. Football and the World Cup of course are not played on paper and Spain’s stars failed to come together as a cohesive unit. There were some curious lineup decisions with Cesc Fabregas and Koke left off the starting lineup and Javi Martinez being deployed in central defense.
Cesar Azpilicueta was one of the few bright spots for Spain and was easily their best player in both matches despite them looking frail at the back. Azpilicueta was a threat coming forward and would make bursting runs and place dangerous crosses in to the box but with no one there to meet them. Fernando Torres made two substitute appearances in both matches and looked ineffective but to no fault of his own. He was a willing runner but there was no linkup between the forwards and midfield.
The most glaring issue facing the Spanish national team at this World Cup has been the terrible play of their central defenders and goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique were ripped to shreds by the Dutch attack and Casillas was directly at fault for three goals including the second Chilean goal today. He has looked uncomfortable since his blunder in the Champions League Final and his reign as one of the best keepers in the world has come to end at this World Cup.
Spain and the national team will face an inquest as to why they played so poorly and looked so lifeless. Perhaps they have lost their fight and drive to win and they need an injection of new blood and life in to their team. Luckily for the Spaniards they have a new generation of young stars in midfield and in goal but must develop some defenders a striker to partner with Diego Costa. On the bright side for Chelsea fans, Azpilicueta, Torres, and perhaps Diego Costa will get an extended holiday and can come to Cobham for some early preseason training.
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