Del Bosque's standing is damaged

Nowhere to hide: Coach Vicente del Bosque contemplates Spain's World Cup exit. (AFP)

Nowhere to hide: Coach Vicente del Bosque contemplates Spain's World Cup exit. (AFP)

The apology, from an experienced professor of football watching his world champions go home early with a wooden spoon, was delivered with galling candour: “If a team shows up at an important game with terror in its heart and head and legs, it must mean the coach did not train them as he should have done.” Those words belonged to Marcello Lippi, the coach of the Italian squad that conquered the 2006 World Cup and exited the 2010 edition like startled kittens.

What pained thoughts must have echoed through the mind of Vicente del Bosque as he surveyed the wreckage of Spain’s campaign – after not three games but three halves of football. At half-time, outpaced and outsmarted by exuberant Chile, this dignified coach who has presided over a historic era looked utterly flummoxed.

Seven goals conceded in 135 minutes of tournament football for Spain? How was that even possible? In the two focal point positions of goalkeeper and centre-forward, where Diego Costa loitered as if in some kind of daze, Del Bosque’s choices were disastrous.

It certainly looked like an epochal moment, for both the team, and its coach. The 1st Marquis of Del Bosque is the only football don to have the World Cup, European Championship and Champions League on his managerial CV.
But in this tournament his team have been outrageously exposed. The default hangdog visage never seemed more appropriate.

The question of whether he will be granted the opportunity to rebuild, to regenerate a group of uber-experienced veterans is moot, and no doubt linked with the situation this (European) summer. It has been an unforgettable Brazilian misadventure. – © Guardian News & Media 2014

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