Problems mounting for Spain and Del Bosque - and tough decisions must be made

Vicente Del Bosque Spain

Spain's 5-1 thumping at the hands of the Netherlands proved to show many of the concerns that were apparent in last year's Confederations Cup.

Despite taking the lead through Xabi Alonso's first half penalty, Vicente del Bosque saw his side ripped apart in the second half, as two goals each from forwards Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, as well as a scruffy strike from Stefan de Vrij, saw Spain put to the sword.

Unsurprisingly, many of the Spanish media outlets are worrying about the rest of the tournament after such an abject display, and some have compared the situation to France's showing in 2002 – after all, they had won the World Cup and the European Championship heading into the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, only to crash out in the group stage.

Whilst that may be somewhat premature with two group games still to come – including one against Australia, who they should still beat handsomely – Spain showed many of the deficiencies that haunted them against Brazil in last summer's Confederations Cup final.

When Brazil hammered them 3-0, it was clear to see the problems; a reliance on the old guard, who had obviously slowed down, and a lack of a Plan B. In yesterday's thumping, the likes of Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso and Xavi all struggled – which isn't surprising after they all had below-par seasons.

Del Bosque seems too stubborn to change his ways; from selection, to formation, to approach. He seems fairly rooted to his 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 system, which relies on two holding midfield players, but this setup is just too negative for a team like Spain.

For future games, Xavi and Alonso should both be dropped, enabling Busquets to operate in front of the back four on his own – just as he has Barcelona. He should be partnered by Andres Iniesta and possibly Koke or Javi Martinez, who offer more going forward than Alonso does.

Additionally, there are problems on the flanks. David Silva and Iniesta are both looking to come infield to create centrally, leaving either gaps out wide or an over reliance on the full backs to get forward. They need someone who will run directly at players with pace and direction, which is something Pedro offers in droves – and Spain looked better going forward when he came on the pitch against Holland.

Spain's World Cup campaign can be salvaged; but Del Bosque needs to rip up the usual script and begin to make tough decisions, enabling young, in form players like David de Gea, Martinez and Koke to play strong roles – rather than relying on ageing players whose best days are behind them.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch