Curitiba: The Netherlands’ crushing win over Spain has precipitated a question that wasn’t expected to come up until after the World Cup — when do Spain’s veterans give way to its rising crop of talented youngsters?
Coach Vicente del Bosque said changes would be made for the must-win match against Chile on Wednesday. But with its title on the line, Spain’s transition still may not be fully made in Brazil.
“To think that this generation of players is finished is a little exaggerated. We’re not finished,” midfielder Xabi Alonso said. “We’ve still got life, there’s more to come from this team, which knows how to compete.”
“For us, it is a collective question: Either we all go home together or we keep fighting all together,” said Alonso. “No doubt we have undergone internal inflection since the loss. But we should not come to conclusions about these past years from one game.”
“We know what we need to do, we have players of different profiles and different characteristics who can do it,” Alonso said. “But we have to be intelligent and not fall into any traps against Chile. I think our team is deep enough, we have enough players to combine styles of control with a more attacking approach to win the game.”
Spain not only need to win the Group B match against Chile, at the Maracana, but also have a big goal-difference deficit to make up after being routed 1-5 by the Netherlands. “We should remember what these players have achieved over the past years, the history that we’ve made,” midfielder Cesc Fabregas said. “But we also can’t live off of that.”
Spain did look as if it was living off its reputation against the Dutch. Alonso and Fabregas alongside Iker Casillas, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta have been the core of a team that has won just about everything over the past six years but who came up flat against the Dutch.
This “golden generation” looked fatigued as it struggled to respond to the onslaught in Salvador, when the Dutch handed Spain its worst competitive loss in 64 years. (Agencies)