After being eliminated from the 2014 World Cup with a stunning Rd 1 loss to Chile, star midfielder says the defeat was unexpected
Rio de Janeiro: Xabi Alonso admitted that it is the end of an era for Spain after the reigning champions bowed out of the World Cup in ignominy.
(From left to right) Spain's David Silva, Diego Costa, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso react after their loss against Chile at the Maracana. Pic/Getty Images
Chile's 2-0 victory at the Maracana, following on from Holland's 5-1 rampage last week, saw Spain set an unwelcome record as the only champions to bow out after just two matches of the group stage.
Alonso, Real Madrid's former Liverpool midfielder, said: "Things are going to change. Eras end with defeats... and this was a painful defeat.
"It's a completely unexpected failure but that is sport. These things happen. It was unexpected but we have to take the great sadnesses in the same way as we take the great joys, as men."
'The happiness is gone'
Alonso said Spain had failed to keep their hunger for success burning and that a golden era for his generation of Spanish players is now over.
He added: "I believe that we haven't been able to maintain the same levels of conviction, of hunger. The success, the happiness of before is gone, it's run out and we haven't been able to keep it going. We've made lots of mistakes, we've lost a bit of our know-how, and we've paid for it with our solidity that had helped us win so many games.
"We've not been able to keep the same levels of ambition and hunger, perhaps the real conviction to go for the championship."
'Not in the best shape'
"I think it's a bit of everything. Mentally we weren't ready, physically maybe the same but, putting that all together, we weren't in the best shape.
"Then we have played against teams that were well-prepared and at their peak, and now we're going home. It hurts our pride a lot, but this is football. But as I said, we've known how to win and now we have to know how to lose."
Feeling the pain
Spain's captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who had a disastrous tournament with bad mistakes in both matches, was at a loss to explain what had happened.
He said: "We ask people's forgiveness. We are responsible but also the first ones to feel the pain."