With many people suggesting their catastrophic 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands could herald the end of an era for Spain, defender Sergio Ramos has moved quickly to rubbish such claims.
The dramatic fashion in which they were dispatched by Louis van Gaal’s outfit in their opening World Cup game was certainly alarming for a nation which has reigned at the top of world football for the past six years, but Ramos is confident that La Roja are far from finished.
‘I’m convinced that almost 98% of the country has full confidence in the national team,’ he said. ‘We have earned that trust after many years of hard work, sacrifice and effort. All that will be present in the game against Chile.
‘We need to tell people this: after all these years, we can’t talk about the end of the cycle. It is complete and utter nonsense.’
Ramos has been a crucial part of the Spain side which has achieved an unprecedented run of success since winning Euro 2008, arriving in Brazil this summer in search of their fourth consecutive major international title.
However, manager Vicente del Bosque has done little tinkering with the core of the team over the past six years and, with the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso all in their 30s, many have labelled this tournament the final hurrah for the legendary side.
That said, while the Netherlands result only served to fuel the 'death of tiki-taka' narrative, there’s no denying that Spain still possess an enormous amount of talent ready to step into the lineup and continue the Golden Generation’s legacy, such as Javi Martinez, Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata, Koke, Isco and Gerard Deulofeu, to name just a few.
In that sense, talk of the team’s untimely demise all seems very premature, although their second group game against Chile on Wednesday is most certainly a must-win matchup now, with Del Bosque promising changes ahead.
It’s worth remembering of course that Spain similarly lost their opening match at South Africa 2010, where they also faced the same South American side in the group stages. The team managed a 2-1 win over Chile on that occasion and they would surely settle for a repeat scoreline this time around.