By CHARLIE SCOTT and OLIVER TODD
World Champions join the hall of shame after failing to qualify from Group B
Italy 1950, Brazil 1966, France 2002 and Italy 2010 are the others big failures
The death of tiki-taka? Not quite, but potentially the death of Iker Casillas’ international career.
Spain started their World Cup defence by being thumped 5-1 by Holland, as Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben ran riot in Salvador. And Chile compounded their misery, making Spain’s world number one tag look ridiculous.
Mailsport take a look back at the other four champions who embarrassingly fell at the first hurdle as this year’s champions crash out.
The Italians were the long-standing defending champions, having won the World Cup in 1934 and 1938 – with a 12-year gap until the next tournament in 1950.
Their national team was weakened as most of their side has sadly died in the Superga air disaster one year before the start of the tournament and the champions were not keen to attend the finals.
After some persuasion they travelled to Brazil, but by boat rather than plane.
They lost 3-2 to Sweden before beating Paraguay 2-0 but it wasn’t enough and the Italians were on their way home – by boat.
The Selecao won their second World Cup in 1962, beating Czechoslovakia 3-1 in the final, but failed to clear the first stage at the following tournament in England, despite a star showing from Pele and Garrincha in their opening 2-0 victory over Bulgaria.
That win was marred by an injury to Pele, and the forward missed their second match, a 3-1 defeat to Hungary.
He recovered to start in the third and all-important game against Portugal, only for sidekick Garrincha to be ruled out.
Without the two working in tandem Brazil were easily beaten by a Portugal side inspired by Eusebio and with that Vicente Feola’s side were out.
After thrashing Brazil in the 1998 final in front of their own fans in Paris, France began the following tournament in the worst possible fashion.
Tournament debutants Senegal pulled off one of the biggest World Cup upsets ever in the opening match, as Papa Bouba Diop scored in a shock 1-0 victory over Les Bleus.
In their second Group A match, France failed to find a way past Uruguay, with the game finishing 0-0. The holders’ star striker Thierry Henry was sent off in that game to compound their misery.
A limp 2-0 defeat to Denmark sent France crashing out after just three games. Their failure to score a single goal earned them the record of worst ever World Cup performance by a defending champion.
Four years on from the drama of their penalty shootout win in the 2006 final against France, Italy flew to South Africa with a strong squad intent on defending their crown.
Drawn in a seemingly easy group with Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia, pundits tipped Italy to saunter into the knockout stages.
How wrong they were.
After being held to 1-1 draws by Paraguay and New Zealand, they lost 3-2 in their final group game to Slovakia, becoming the third nation to be eliminated in the first round as reigning champions.
Casillas and the centre-back pairing of Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique looked like they had never met before, let alone won a World Cup and two European championships together.
Vicente Del Bosque made two changes for their second group game against Chile, not that it helped. Barcelona pair Gerard Pique and Xavi were replaced by Bayern Munich utility man Javi Martinez and their speedy club teammate Pedro.
Napoli forward Eduardo Vargas gave Jorge Sampaoli’s side a deserved lead with a calm finish in the 19th minute, before an improvised Charles Aranguiz toe-poke doubled their lead three minutes before the break.
Despite bringing Fernando Torres on after the break Spain still struggled to create chances, and the defeat dumped them out of the World Cup with one round of group stage matches still to play.
By CHARLIE SCOTT and OLIVER TODD