It has largely been a World Cup to forget for Spain. The champions in 2010, they crashed out this afternoon to the 2018 hosts Russia after being defeated in a penalty shoot-out.
Heavily criticised for a turgid approach that never seemed to truthfully threaten the Russian goal, Spain's incessant passing set a new World Cup record; but that will scarcely be worth anything to them now.
Having began the tournament under a cloud, Spain parted with their Real Madrid-bound manager Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament's opening game. Called up at the eleventh hour, Madrid legend Fernando Hierro has ultimately come in for criticism on the back of Spain's largely poor performances throughout.
Speaking after this afternoon's defeat on Spanish television, Luis Rubiales, the President of Spain's footballing federation, and the man who decided to part company with Lopetegui after news of his move to Madrid broke, revealed that Hierro's future in the role will be decided "over the next few weeks."
Reflecting on the result, Rubiales was decidedly less magnanimous:
We are feeling hurt by this, eliminated by an opponent not on our level. In this sport the best team does not always win.
He did proceed to congratulate Russia and "wish them luck from here on in the tournament," yet, Rubiales remained keen to distance himself - and his decision regarding Lopetegui - from what will go down as a disastrous World Cup campaign for Spain:
Today there is pain, as we have been eliminated. But you can be calm when you know you have acted with responsibility, conviction and values. You cannot look back later due to a result on the pitch.
Although this may be wishful thinking on Rubiales' part, he may well be realising the worst imaginable scenario of his impulsive decision.
Credit to Dermot Corrigan for the quotations.