Spain mourns World Cup exit, more victims in line

Spain mourns World Cup exit, more victims in line
A Spain fan watches the FIFA World Cup 2014 football match between Spain and Chilli in Brazil, on a large screen in Madrid on June 18, 2014.

RIO DE JANEIRO - Defending champions Spain slumped into mourning over their disastrous World Cup exit on Thursday ahead of a clash between England and Uruguay that could see another famous name fatally wounded.

A picture of midfielder Andres Iniesta, his head in his hands after the 2-0 defeat by Chile, symbolised the end of a golden run in which Spain won the World Cup and two straight European Championships.

The image dominated Spain's press on the day after the country's second straight defeat in Group B sparked soul searching into the failure.

"A terrible end to the most glorious era," said the Madrid sports daily Marca. Spain's coach Vicente del Bosque said he would not be rushed into a decision on his future.

"When something negative comes out of such an important competition then of course there are consequences. I don't want to go into an analysis right now - there will be plenty of time for that," said the 63-year-old whose side also lost 5-1 to the Netherlands.

"We are not falling apart. We will take the time to do what is best for Spanish football - and I include myself there.

"We must not make snap decisions. We played two games and were not able to overcome our rivals - Holland and Chile were better than us on the day."

Del Bosque acknowledged his side were poor in the second half where they fell to pieces against the Dutch and in the first 45 minutes against a Chilean side who scented blood from the outset.

"But we mustn't make excuses. We are out, we were inferior and we must look to the future," he insisted. Captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who has come in for heavy criticism, said: "The level of commitment was not what we wanted it to be."

"We didn't deserve to go through to the next round. We have been beaten by superior teams," added Casillas, 33, who will be one of the golden generation whose places are now threatened.

Cameroon were also slammed after their 4-0 defeat by Croatia in Group A in which Alexandre Song was sent off for punching Croatia goalscorer Mario Mandzukic and Benoit Assou-Ekotto aimed a headbutt at teammate Benjamin Moukandjo after a dispute. Coach Volker Finke called the behaviour "disgusting" and "unacceptable".

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