RIO DE JANEIRO -- With its superstars aging and its loyal coach slow to blend in young talent, Spain's glorious reign as the superpower of world football was bound to end.

The Spanish weren't favored to repeat as World Cup champions. But few expected the utter collapse that ended Wednesday with a 2-0 loss to Chile, knocking Spain from contention and ending the run of the greatest team of the century.

Chile's pace and skill produced a dominating win similar to so many Spanish victories over the past six years. Spain was outplayed, outrun and outfought.

The 5-1 beating by the Netherlands on Friday was shocking and foretold where coach Vicente del Bosque's team was heading: home.

"If you think about everything accomplished, and you told me we would be eliminated in group stage, I wouldn't believe you," del Bosque said.

"We have no excuses. It's a sad day for all of the players."

Six of Spain's squad have played at least 100 national team games while winning the 2010 World Cup and the European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

"Success is not eternal," said Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli, whose hyperactive energy around the dugout was shared by his team. "This generation could not continue with that success and you can understand it."

"It's very special the fact we were able to play today against the World Cup champions the way we did," Sampaoli said, and "eliminate them with courage, intensity and attack."


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Del Bosque acknowledged that his players were "too slow, timid from the start."

Chile twice came close to scoring in the first 90 seconds, and led in the 20th minute when Eduardo Vargas finished a slick move of incisive passing that was truly Spanish in its execution.

The second followed in the 43rd when Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas punched a free kick to the feet of Charles Aranguiz, who fired a rising shot right back past the veteran captain, who took much of the blame for the loss to the Netherlands.

"I only ask fans for forgiveness," Casillas said. "We did everything we could." The 33-year-old came to the World Cup after a second straight season as second-choice goalkeeper at Real Madrid and a glaring error in its Champions League final win last month.

Spain came to Brazil with a very similar -- but older -- team to the 2010 squad. It added Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa, but he failed to score and was substituted in both matches.

Spain's "tiki-taka" style of play -- keeping the ball for long stretches with short passes, and only shooting when you had a clear opening -- had not been working as well in recent years.

Spain became the third straight European defending World Cup champion to flop in the group stage. France in 2002 and Italy four years ago also failed to advance, or even win a match.

Spain has a consolation game Monday against Australia. Chile and the Netherlands will play to decide the Group B winner. "We didn't do anything different to what we did in South Africa or the two Euros," said forward Fernando Torres. "We came with the same mentality, approaching the games the same way."

  • Nearly 100 rampaging Chilean fans busted through a security checkpoint at the Maracana stadium, rushing through a large media room and breaking down walls as they tried to force their way into the sold-out Spain vs. Chile match. The red-shirted supporters, mostly young men, surged through the media center underneath the stands, shouting and shoving their way past journalists and TV crews toward a corridor they apparently thought would lead to the grandstands. Security eventually contained the fans in a section of the corridor around 15 minutes after they first forced their way in.

    JAMIE SQUIRE/GETTY IMAGES

    Sergio Busquets of Spain reacts after a missed chance against Chile. Spain fell to Chile 2-0 Wednesday.

    INSIDE

    Roundup: Netherlands
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