The Spanish press certainly mourned the end of the country’s soccer dynasty on Thursday morning, but the front pages of many newspapers were more focused on a new kind of reign, as King Felipe VI ascended the Spanish throne after former King Juan Carlos signed his abdication papers. Most of the soccer coverage was thus relegated to the inside pages, but the message was clear, nonetheless: after winning Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, Spain’s supremacy is no more and an ageing team must be rebuilt.
Some assessments were harsher than others: "The Spanish soccer team that has been the most deserving of a royal farewell ended its fairy tale in an atrocious way, in a world fiasco," the country’s leading newspaper El Pais said. In its match report, the paper likened the team’s rapid fall from grace to the Titanic, noting: "The problems all surfaced at once, and there was no way to rescue even one virtue, or even to negotiate a dignified scoreline.” Added AS: "The end was horrible. It had to come some day, that was accepted, but we never imagined such a painful goodbye, so unrecognizable and so vulgar. Goodbye, World Cup."
Meanwhile, Madrid sports daily Marca, whose simple headline read “The End” in English, decided to focus on the team’s glorious history: "It is logical that Spain's fans are disappointed, but the respect owed to this team must be eternal. They achieved what no Spaniard imagined they could achieve. They made millions of Spaniards happy. They made it so the whole world feared this team. Everything ends in this life and in the Maracana was written the 'adios' of a unique generation."