1. Del Bosque made fatal mistakes
It’s tough to criticise a man that’s overseen such sustained Spanish success, but I will anyway. Given the players at his disposal, he’s failed to evolve the team by relying on fading stars such as Xavi and Torres. Why isn’t this team built around a younger core? Koke has lit up the the Champions League, De Gea was one of the best goalkeepers in Europe last season and Isco has enjoyed a strong debut season for Real Madrid, yet for one reason or another they’re all forced to watch on. Del Bosque has missed a golden opportunity to (at least start to) build a dynasty.
2. Iker Casillas’s career is in big trouble
A lot has changed since Casillas lifted the World Cup trophy aloft in Johannesburg four years ago. Since being dropped by Jose Mourinho, he’s never quite been the same player. A mistake (that led to a goal but not defeat) in the Champions League final and two poor performances in Brazil has left his career in tatters. David de Gea would have been a more logical choice to start at this World Cup and the question for Casillas is : where does he go from here?
3. Chile are serious contenders for the World Cup
The Vidal-Sanchez-Vargas axis is terrifyingly good. Vidal still doesn’t look 100% fit, but he’s approaching full sharpness at just the perfect time. Chile will be looking to get the better of Netherlands on Monday to avoid Brazil in the last 16 but, in truth, no one wants to play Jorge Sampaoli’s very dangerous Chile side. Keep a very close eye on them.
4. Xabi Alonso’s month of woe is complete
Alonso suffered the ignominy of being substituted at half time after an abject performance against Chile, just weeks after collecting a meaningless yellow card that kept him out of the Champions League final. Once regarded as one of the world’s finest defensive midfielders, Spain’s future midfield is likely to consist of Thiago Alcantara, Koke and Asier Illarramendi – not the Real Madrid man.
5. Jose Mourinho should have second thoughts about Diego Costa
Diego Costa has had a torrid World Cup, despite not being at full fitness. The soon-to-be Chelsea forward went into the tournament considered one of the deadliest marksmen in the world, but the Brazilian born striker failed to justify his controversial inclusion in the Spain squad with two anonymous displays. Unless, of course, it was all a huge conspiracy…