The Telegraph
Wednesday , June 25 , 2014
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Bhutia roots for Germany

New Delhi: Like most soccer fans across the world, Bhaichung Bhutia, too, was in a state of shock when 2010 champions Spain lost two back-to-back matches to crash out the World Cup.

An ardent fan of tiki-taka that turned Spain into an invincible side, Bhaichung said Iker Casillas’s boys did not deserve such an early exit. “I did not expect Spain to go out of the World Cup so early,” admitted the former India captain on the sidelines of a promotional on Tuesday. “They don’t deserve to make a first-round exit. Not that champions don’t go out early in World Cups… the England group (D) is a group of death… we knew a couple of former champions might go home. But Spain’s exit was a shock.”

Bhaichung, however, said Germany are his favourites to win the World Cup.

Asked what could have been the possible reason behind Spain’s ouster, Bhutia said veteran coach, Vicente del Bosque, should have been more careful in choosing his starting eleven against the Netherlands and Chile.

“There are times when managers do get it wrong. It is not that he is to be blamed alone. But Del Bosque should not have used Diego Costa in the starting line-up. Costa had not yet fully recovered from injury. He was also not fitting into the system well,” felt Bhaichung.

Del Bosque, 63, led Spain to title triumphs in 2010 World Cup and 2012 Euro. Spain won the 2008 Euro, too, under then coach Luis Aragones, who stepped down after his 1-0 win over Germany in the Vienna final.

In the ongoing World Cup in Brazil, Bhaichung said, the South American teams were having the advantage of the weather. “Perhaps, because of the weather, the European teams are struggling. You can see whenever there is a break during a match — for an injury or for any other reason — players from European teams are rushing to the sidelines to have water or energy drinks,” he said.