Gloom as Spanish national side bow out early in Brazil World Cup | News | DW | 18.06.2014
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Gloom as Spanish national side bow out early in Brazil World Cup

Spain has been coming to terms with the national team's shock early exit from the World Cup after only two games in the group stages. With the side's international dominance at an end, the mood in Spanish media was grim.

There was widespread dejection among Spanish fans both in Brazil and back home, as the national side's reign as kings of international football came to an abrupt end on Wednesday.

The pain was felt all the more keenly given the fact that the country has remained at the pinnacle of international competion for the past six years - with three consecutive major tournament wins - throughout an economic crisis that began in autumn 2008.

"It's almost like all of what we won before was a dream," Beatriz Corral, one of the Spanish fans who had traveled to Rio, told the AP news agency. "The only happiness we've had in recent years has been football. Now the crisis is complete. We don't have bread or the circus."

In Madrid, home to the two finalists in this year's Champions League final - Atletico and Real Madrid - there was similar shock. "It is a surprise," a fan told the AFP news agency. "I was not expecting it. I thought we would get to the final. I was hoping to celebrate today."

Two reigns come to an end

The online editions of Spanish newspapers prominently reflected a sense of shock felt across the country late on Wednesday, with even the ascendance of King Felipe VI to the Spanish throne at the stroke of midnight relegated to second place.

Conservative newspaper El-Mundo mourned the exit with the headline "World Cup disaster," after Spain bowed out 2-0 to Chile in only their second game of the tournament. The defeat was not as heavy as the side's 5-1 drubbing by the Netherlands five days earlier. However, it meant an end to the side's long reign at the peak of international football, having won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, as well as the last two European Championships.

"A sad night," wrote El-Pais correspondent Rafael Pineda. "It's time to get back up and think of the future. Life goes on. A big hug for everyone."

"Shattered" ran the headline of popular sports daily Marca, portraying a photo of Spanish keeper Iker Casillas. Marca bemoaned the fact that the squad's campaign in Brazil had not even lasted a week. "From heaven to hell," the paper noted. "Chile confirmed what Holland had already showed." However, Marca added a philosophical note about the end of Spain's international dominance. "It was good while it lasted, but in this life, everything comes to an end. And this has come to an end."

'Now begins the debate'

Madrid-based sports paper AS ran "Farewell to the World Cup," as its headline.

"The reds did not play well, and they had no luck. Now begins the debate about the end of an era, and what will come after it."

The reaction of Barcelona based sports paper Sport seemed less reflective. "Historic knockout for Spain!" screamed the headline, the paper referring to "a squad that now has nothing more to offer."

"At the very beginning, Spain deservedly bow out of the Brazil World Cup and will be going home leaving behind a very poor impression."

Spain still have one game left to play, albeit as a matter of pride, against World Cup minnows Australia next Monday, both teams now having exited the competition.

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