The Spain national team bowed out of the World Cup with a domination of Australia in the meaningless final game of their group stage. The Spaniards were looking for their first points in Brazil and found them easy to come by against an Australia side that was missing their talismanic striker Tim Cahill through suspension.
Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque made several changes to his lineup for the final match by giving Fernando Torres, David Villa, Santi Cazorla, Koke, Juanfran, and Pepe Reina their first starts of the tournament. Villa and Torres rewarded their manager’s faith in them with well taken goals to help Spain dominate a listless looking Australia side that was full of so much fight and determination in their first two matches. Former Chelsea man Juan Mata rounded out the scoring with a nutmeg finish which was assisted by Chelsea’s latest signing Cesc Fabregas.
This match against Australia felt more like a testimonial match than a World Cup group match. It was apparent in their celebrations that Fernando Torres and David Villa both felt that that they were likely playing their final matches for La Furia Roja. Villa emphatically kissed the Spanish badge on his chest after his goal as if to say farewell and “thanks for all the memories”. Torres’s celebration was more subdued as he simply jogged away and waved his finger in the air in tribute to the team and the fans.
This World Cup was the death knell for the Spanish domination that began in 2008 with the victory over Germany in the Euro Cup. They were arguably the best national team of all time for the past six years but it all had to end eventually and new stars must be ready to step up. The heroes of old in Torres, Villa, Xavi, Iker Casillas, and more must step down and let the next generation take control. Whether that will be under Del Bosque or another manager remains to be seen.
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