A turning point for Spanish football took place on June 23rd 2014, but maybe many do not remember it. Vicente del Bosque´s national team said goodbye to the Brazil 2014 World Cup on that evening with a 3-0 win versus Australia. The scoreboard was inconsequential, but not the result. We had just witnessed the end of our most successful generation; the end of an era.
We went from being almost unbeatable, from offering one of the biggest football exhibitions ever; to say bye in just 270 minutes. Two EURO´s and a World Cup in four years. We had won everything and the country was more united than ever before. Everything thanks to ‘La Roja’. Who would have thought of what was about to come.
A rebuild process was about to start. A long an difficult path. 7 years that have provoked a huge lost of excitement and passion. Those terraces that showed off the Spanish flag every two years now were unable to celebrate a simple goal. However, the improvement on Luis Enrique´s players as the EURO goes on are helping to recover the success and the trust from the fans.
This common situation in football is the one that Germany is about to face. Unlike the Spanish experience, the German Football Federation anticipated the end of their era with the announcement of their next coach: Hans-Dieter Flick. The disappointing knock out at the Russia 2018 World Cup group stage set off the alarms. They have had the chance to do better in this EURO, but the scenario was complicated. Löw´s era is now over after 15 years at the top level.
Along with Joachim Löw is more than likely leaving a player that has been with him during all this time and that has been a key part to be on verge of the glory in 2010 and reach it in 2014: Thomas Müller. It is a shame that a legend ends his national team career with an unfit mistake from such a top player and without having scored a goal at any EURO. This sport can be very contradictory.
The similarities between Germany and Spain are not a simple coincidence. In fact, Germany´s titles being limited to the 2014 World Cup are due to ‘La Roja’ managing to write the story that both countries longed for. One´s star shined in South Africa and faded in Brazil. The other one took over in order to succeed the next four years. Spain has almost needed a decade to rebuild themselves. How much will it take for ‘Die Mannschaft’? The journey will not be easy.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.