Spain were expected to challenge for the World Cup, but after just two matches, those dreams have been dashed.
Having been hammered 5-1 by the Netherlands in their opening game of Group B last week, the reigning European and world champions went into the clash against Chile at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday needing to pick up all three points.
However, Vicente del Bosque’s side failed to do that, as La Furia Roja slumped to a 2-0 defeat and crashed out of the tournament.
The Euro 2008 winners never really looked like they could impose themselves on their South American opponents, as first-half goals from Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz proved enough for Jorge Sampaoli’s side to pick up the win and book their place in the round of 16.
Alexis Sanchez was once again the star of the show for Chile, as his runs, pace and tricks kept the Spain defenders on their toes. The 25-year-old was also one of his side’s best players during their 3-1 win against Australia last week.
The Barcelona forward had a good 2013-14 season and has carried that form to Brazil. The former Udinese star has been linked with a £20 million move to Manchester United, while Italian champions Juventus are also reported to be keen on him. Even Liverpool have been credited with an interest in Sanchez in recent days.
Whether he wants to leave or not, Sanchez still remains a Barcelona player and seems to have a good relationship with his teammates – he was seen consoling Spain international midfielder Andres Iniesta.
On Wednesday, Sanchez faced a number of his Barcelona teammates, including Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, and despite celebrating Chile’s triumph, he did feel for his club teammates.
After the match, Sanchez praised Spain for their achievements over the past six or so years and was quoted as saying by Marca: ‘No team has done more for world football than Spain’.
And that shows Sanchez’s class.