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Spain look to get past shock with summit meeting in Curitiba

AS AS 15/06/2014 Joaquín Maroto, Javier G. Matallanas

Iker Casillas and Vicente del Bosque held a meeting on the Spain training pitch in Curitiba on Saturday. In view of the press and while the rest of the players were put through their paces, the coach and the captain went over the match against Holland. The conversation came about after Del Bosque’s admission in his press conference that Casillas had blamed himself for the defeat, “but we’re all to blame”. The end of the discussion was joined by Xavi Hernández, another influential figure in the dressing room who was also criticised for his performance against the Dutch.

© Juan Flor

The Selección took part in a light session, with the starters from Friday’s defeat doing recovery work and leaving the field after half an hour. The rest practised opening the play out to the wing, crossing and finishing.

The entirety of Spain’s expedition to Brazil – footballers, coaches, directors and correspondents – remain in a state of shock. Like their coach, the players have accepted responsibility for a disaster “of biblical dimensions”, as could be heard in the press coach after La Roja’s heaviest defeat since 1950. The correspondents struggled for answers as they tried to analyse the thrashing, with each pointing to David Silva’s chance for 2-0 shortly before Robin van Persie’s equaliser (his goal can be considered one of the best in World Cup history) as one of the key points. Some insisted that it was the substitution of Xabi Alonso, who was playing better than Sergio Busquets, that saw the team crumble. Others looked to the poor displays from Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Piqué and Jordi Alba as decisive factors. The finger was even pointed at Fernando Torres for missing a clear chance to make it 5-2 (which could prove costly for Spain if goal difference comes into play).

The physical drop suffered by the players in the second half reopened the debate over the mistaken choice of training base. Going from the cool, rainy climate of Curitiba to the heat of Salvador de Bahía could have been one of the key reasons for their sudden collapse. It is striking that, of the 32 national teams competing in the World Cup in Brazil, thirty have opted to train and base themselves at sea level and only two, Ecuador and Spain, have chosen the opposite.

The question marks surround whether Del Bosque should bring about a revolution in his line-up to face Chile. The most daring are even placing Casillas’ starting place in doubt, although no one expects the Spain boss to drop his captain. The conservative current says that Del Bosque will make no changes against Chile so as not to single out any players.

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