Spain had dominated world football since 2008.
But after a disastrous 2014 World Cup and last night’s surprise defeat by Slovakia in the euro2016 qualifiers – the country’s footballing identity is suddenly facing a crisis.
Even Diego Costa – who has scored nine goals in seven Premier League games for Chelsea, has failed to score a single goal in six appearances for his country.
Coach Vicente Del Bosque however remained upbeat about their most recent defeat saying: “Well, I think we have not entered a losing streak at all. We have kept our identity. I think we controlled the game quite well. We have to accept defeat, but in the coming matches will fight to reverse the situation.”
Goalkeeper Iker Casillas in particular is facing increased criticism for his recent performances and now looks likely to lose his place to David De Gea.
The European champions’ defeat to Slovakia was their first qualifying defeat for eight years and raises serious concerns amongst their supporters who endured a torrid summer watching their nation crumble at the World Cup in Brazil.
A win in Luxembourg on Sunday in their third Euro 2016 qualifier would go a long way in helping morale but another defeat would highlight once again the decline of one of world football’s recent powerhouses.