Stanley Chou/Getty Images
Juan Mata, Jordi Alba and Javi Martinez had just come off the Euro title. Also, Spain had just defeated France for the U-19 Euro title. With these credentials, Spain was the team to beat. Everyone was looking at Brazil, but the lack of an Olympic gold and rough-and-tumble start against Egypt left us with a sour taste and more expectant of Spain.
Earlier in the day, Brazil started slow even allowing the Belarus squad a goal, but Neymar, Oscar, Pato & Co. turned the boat around and put on a show. The balance of the universe was restored.
Despite a loss to Japan at the opening match, Spain were the clear-cut favorites against a Honduras squad that already had a "W" against Morocco.
Well, tonight was a night to forget for the Spaniards. They forgot to show up for the first half and were scored on essentially on the only chance that forward Jerry Bengtson had. In the second half, the universe started working his magic against Spain.
What strikes me the most isn't the ball that hit the post and the two that hit the crossbar even though the last ball on the crossbar was unforgivable. What strikes me the most is that the established players like Juan Mata and Iker Muniain failed to call it upon themselves to qualify or at least give the team chances on the last match day.
The only time these players led the team was when the referee, correctly, did not call penalty and when the linesman gave a foul on the Honduras' right-back in the Spanish half early in the injury time. If it were another competition, the ref would have sent off at least two Spanish players.
A melancholic end to the Spanish adventure.