KEIR RADNEDGE in SALVADOR: Vicente Del Bosque faces one of the greatest tests of his low-key managerial career in pulling Spain’s World Cup defence back together after their five-goal demolition by Holland.

Del Bosque, who guided Spain to victory in the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship, appears to have been left stranded by an over-reliance on the ageing core of that team.

Iker Casillas was a disaster in goal, Xavi Hernandez becalmed in midfield and Diego Costa apparently unbalanced in attack by the boos and jeers provoked by his abandoning of Brazil for the sake of Spain.


“I have no words to explain it,” said Del Bosque. “We have never been a defensve team but today we were very weak in defence but we must also acknowledge the ability of Van Persie and Robben.

“Congratulations to Holland. In the second half they were better than us. This is not the time to point a finger of blame at anyone. We are all to blame. Now we have to look to the future and the next natch and secure a win against Chile.

“Personally, I feel very upset and disappointed but I also know that we must not under because of one defeat. I believe we have a

team of very good professionals. We have had a talk in the dressing room which was good for the team and now we will have time to discuss things further.”

Asked specifically about Iker Casillas, Del Bosque said: “This is not the moment to point a finger of blame at anyone.

“When a team lose it doesn’t depend on one single player but is down to a weakness of the entire squad so we cannot blame anyone, least of all Iker Casillas.”

Even if Del Bosque did not blame Casillas, the player blamed himself.

He said: “I wasn’t at the level I needed to be. I have to accept all criticism. I didn’t do things like I should have, especially to start a World Cup.

“It wasn’t one of my best games.”