Spain win, but Del Bosque disappoints

Spain win, but Del Bosque disappoints
EXQUISITE: David Villa starting the rout for Spain with a back-heel goal.




(David Villa 36, Fernando Torres 69, Juan Mata 82)

Old-school Vicente Del Bosque has to go.

Iker Casillas, not even a Real Madrid first-team regular these days, has to be replaced.

Xavi Hernandez and David Villa, who are about to head to Qatari and American retirement homes, respectively, should call time on their international careers.

And Fernando Torres, impotent when it matters, will probably have played his last game for Spain.

Anyone catching the outgoing world champions' final game of the 2014 tournament this morning (Singapore time) would have been disappointed if they wanted to catch a glimpse of the future.

The Spaniards cruised to a 3-0 win over Australia, but with nothing to play for except pride, del Bosque continued to show a lack of faith in his younger players like Cesar Azpilicueta, Javi Martinez, Juan Mata and Pedro Rodriguez.

David de Gea was injured and the only player under 25 to start was 22-year-old Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, who acquitted himself well, spraying passes with ease and even forcing Mathew Ryan into a full-length save from a long-range shot.

Interestingly, the one who scored Spain's first goal was 32-year-old David Villa, who was in fine form in the pre-tournament friendlies but was overlooked in the first two group games in favour of Diego Costa and Torres, who got the second.

At least they avoided the ignominy of becoming the first defending champions to bow out without a point.

Barcelona and Real Madrid's thumping defeats in the Champions League over the last couple of seasons should have sent a signal that tactics get outdated all too quickly in the modern game.

The Germans from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund showed that tiki-taka, so revolutionary six years ago, can be overcome by pace, penetration and precision.

Yet, there was no reinvigoration in the Spanish national team. Despite the emergence of exciting young players, Del Bosque opted for stalwarts and picked a squad with an average age of 27.8. In comparison, Australia's average was 25.8.

One positive from this early elimination is that there cannot be any wallpapering over the obvious cracks.

An entire arsenal of young guns like Alberto Moreno, Daniel Carjaval, Inigo Martinez, Asier Illarramendi, Ander Herrera, Iker Muniain and Isco lie in wait.

If not Del Bosque, surely someone else will eventually use them.

This article was first published on June 24, 2014.
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