Alonso: We lost the hunger to retain the World Cup

The Spain midfielder admitted that the defending champions lost their desire and says changes will be made after they were dumped out in the group stage

By Greg Stobart at the Estadio Maracana

Xabi Alonso admitted Spain did not have the hunger to retain the World Cup after their dominance of international football came to an ignominious end.

La Roja lost 2-0 to Chile at the Maracana on Wednesday, meaning the holders were eliminated from the World Cup having lost their opening match 5-1 against the Netherlands.

“We’ve not been able to keep the same levels of ambition and hunger, or perhaps the real conviction to go for the championship,” Alonso said.

“The success, the happiness of before is gone, it’s run out and we haven’t been able to keep it going.

“Mentally we weren’t ready, physically maybe the same, but putting that all together we weren’t in the best shape. Then we have played against teams that were well-prepared and at their peak, and now we’re going home.

“It hurts our pride a lot, but this is football. We’ve known how to win and now we have to know how to lose.” 

The future of Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque and a number of the experienced players will be called into question after the 2010 champions failed to even progress out of the group stage.

Alonso agrees that Spain – also winners of the last two European Championships – have reached the end of an era but says the players must take responsibility for their failure.

“Things are going to change. Eras end with defeats – and this was a painful defeat,” added the Real Madrid midfielder.

“It’s a completely unexpected failure but that is sport. It was unexpected but we have to take the great sadness in the same way as we take the great joys. As men.”

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