Humbled Spanish urge unity before crucial Chile clash
(Reuters) - Spain need to close ranks, quickly put their shocking 5-1 defeat by the Netherlands behind them and focus on Wednesday's crucial World Cup Group B game against Chile, according to captain Iker Casillas.
Their title defense got off to the worst possible start on Friday when they surrendered an early lead and were thrashed by the rampant Dutch in what was Spain's worst World Cup loss in more than 60 years.
Casillas was one of several players who endured a nightmare game in Salvador and the goalkeeper conceded that he and his team mates were simply "not up to the job" against the nation they beat 1-0 in the final in South Africa four years ago.
"Now this (Friday's) match is in the past and we shouldn't dwell on it but move on to the next one," Casillas told reporters.
"This team have always been characterized by the way the players help each other.
"We have to face up to the consequences, train hard and win the next game. Chile will be a tough opponent and for us it will be like a final," added the Real Madrid stopper.
Spain's mauling brought back memories of their surprise 1-0 opening game defeat by Switzerland in South Africa four years ago, although the scale of Friday's reverse was stunning.
On their way to winning Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, Spain conceded a mere six goals in 19 matches.
Friday's result against the Dutch was a wake-up call to a side used to controlling opponents with their slick passing game, and coach Vicente del Bosque may consider reshuffling his team and tweaking his tactics against the Chileans.
The Spanish defense, normally so difficult to penetrate, appeared helpless against waves of attacks in the second half and centre back Sergio Ramos said urgent improvement was needed.
"For better or worse you cannot stand still in football, you have to look forward," he told reporters.
"It's not normal that we concede so many goals," he added.
"We have to improve in the next few days and only a win against Chile will be enough for us."
Chile began their World Cup on Friday with a 3-1 win over Australia, who Spain play in their final group game on June 23.
If Del Bosque's side manage to progress to the last 16 as group runners-up, they are likely to face hosts Brazil.
(Writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Ken Ferris)
- Total CEO de Margerie killed in Moscow as jet hits snow plough
- Ebola crisis turns a corner as U.S. issues new treatment protocols
- Apple's iPhone sales beat Street but iPad volumes slide
- China's growth slowest since global crisis, annual target at risk
- Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, people leave early