Spain's loss was almost as graceless as the abdication of the Spanish King Juan Carlos on the same day

Voices Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 05:30
BY SUMON K CHAKRABARTI Huff, puff …and poof! And the crown was not snatched, they abdicated quite meekly. Almost as graceless as the abdication of the Spanish King Juan Carlos on the same day, but decided to retain the king and his queen to ensure that the royal couple maintain their immunity from civil or criminal prosecution. The Iberians also left the dubious mark of becoming the first defending World Cup champion to lose their first two matches. Mother of all ironies, Spain’s end came at the hands of Chile, the first colony to win independence from the Spanish empire in the 19th century. The temple of Tiki-Taka was blown away not by the opposition but by an insipid display from a group of players who had the lowest representation from the shrine of La Masia - the Barcelona youth academy – ever in a modern La Roja who dominated world football from 2008 to 2012. It all began with Luis Aragonés. He got together a group of players and created a style of play that ruled the world. But was it a style of play with a catchy name which made the La Roja an indomitable armada, or was it two men and the legacy of La Masia. Because Holland never played the Total Football after Johann Cruyff departed. In fact, they played ‘anti-football’, said the legend himself. For Spain, it was Xavi Hernandes and Adres Iniesta - puppeteers in the midfield - stringing together not just a band of players but a vision to dominate. They led Spain to glory – Euro 2008 and 2012, World Cup 2010 – and shed their underachievers tag. But in Brazil, they tried to tiki, they tried to taka, but the recipe failed with a fading Xavi. Because the secret of the recipe lies in Spain’s restive Catalan region. Spain’s decline is directly related to the decline of Barcelona. Last season was the first in which Barça ended empty-handed in exactly six years. And the La Roja follow. Both their reign lasted six years – it was fun, but then it was delicious while it lasted. But will systems and legacy, that continued under the leadership of Vicente del Bosque after Aragonés, stay. Spain has tasted blood in their victories, no doubt they will bounce back, but will it be with the flair of tiki-taka. Because the disciples of that philosophy ain’t filling the rank and file of their squad at the moment. Its time to blood a new La Roja, with all the fury. It’s time to move on, get the likes of Isco, Koke, Santi Cazrola and David de Gea on board. And it’s high time to go back to La Masia. Because the temple needs some high priests to salvage the cult. Lets start after a summer break. Sumon is a Journalist and Football fanatic.

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