|(World Cup) Spain mourns end of era for weary heroes
Spanish newspapers and football fans on Thursday mourned the end of an era for their national team after the world and European champions crashed out of the World Cup in a humiliating 2-0 beating by Chile.
Photographs of midfielder Andres Iniesta with his head in his hands made the front pages of the press, sharing the space in some cases with coverage of the swearing in of Spain's new king, Felipe VI.
"The end... A terrible end to the most glorious era'', ran the headline in leading Madrid sports daily Marca. "Goodbye to the golden years.''
Marca commentator Santiago Segurola called it "the end of an excellent generation and the start of a new era''.
He blamed Spain's failure to score or stop Chile on "big mistakes and a sense of brokenness, of exhaustion''.
"A monumental challenge awaits their successors. They will have to restore the prestige suddenly lost by Spain.''
Marca analyst Angel Lara said the defending champions' World Cup exit in the first stage marked the end of the international careers of heroes of the Spain's squad of recent years such as Xavi Hernandez, top scorer David Villa, Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso.
Veteran goal keeper Iker Casillas, who apologised to fans after a string of mistakes in Spain's losses to Chile and on June 13 to the Netherlands, had not planned to leave the squad after this World Cup, but may now do so, Lara added. --AFP