RIO DE JANEIRO: Holders Spain were sensationally sent crashing out of the World Cup with a 2-0 defeat to Chile yesterday the earliest exit by the reigning champions for 64 years.
On a day when King Juan Carlos tearfully sealed his abdication after a four-decade reign, Spain’s players were booted off their throne in 90 minutes after six years as the dominant force of world football.
Chile’s Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz administered the killer blows as a trophy-laden Spanish era was brought to a shattering end at the Maracana Stadium.
Chile’s victory sees them qualify for the last 16 from Group B along with the Netherlands, who thrashed Spain 5-1 in their opening match last week.
Australia, beaten 3-2 by the Netherlands earlier Wednesday, join Spain as the other team to be knocked out.
Spain’s early departure will send shockwaves through football after an unprecedented period of success that saw them win the 2010 World Cup as well as back-to-back European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
They arrived at the World Cup as one of the favourites after a qualifying campaign which gave no clue of the looming disaster in Brazil.
But instead they they join Italy (1950 and 2010), Brazil (1966) and France (2002) as the only holders to be knocked out in the first phase.
Not since Italy in 1950 have the holders been knocked out so early.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque had signalled the turmoil in the Spain camp by dropping veteran midfielder Xavi and defender Gerard Pique beforehand.AFP