Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:36
Reuters: At the start of 2014, Vicente del Bosque’s Spain were serious contenders to become only the third nation after Italy and Brazil to successfully defend their World Cup title.
Germany's Toni Kroos (C) celebrates his goal against Spain with his teammates Shkodran Mustafi, Sami Khedira (2nd R) and Antonio Rudiger (R) during their international friendly soccer match at Balaidos stadium in Vigo – REUTERS
Thus it was fitting that what turned out to be an “annus horribilis” for ‘La Roja’, marking the demise of a side that had swept all before them over the previous six years, ended with defeat to freshly-crowned world champions Germany. The 1-0 reverse in rainy Galicia, thanks to a splendid Toni Kroos effort a minute from time, was Spain’s fifth loss in 12 matches in 2014 and ended an unbeaten run of 34 home games.
Both sides were depleted by injuries but the result was the perfect way for Germany to cap a stellar year, while Spain were reminded they have plenty of work to do if they are to secure a third straight European crown in France in 2016.