If you were asked to pick one Spanish player who would let their side down, Iker Casillas would be the last person you would expect to do so. While he was not a mainstay in the Real Madrid side with Carlo Ancelotti this season, Casillas played every game in the ‘La Decima’ winning Champions League campaign. His fantastic form led to many experts believing he was once again, the best Goalkeeper in world football. Where could it go wrong?
Netherlands were the opposition on the night of Casillas’ 155th cap for Spain, and not only were the reigning World Champions humiliated, but stalwart Iker Casillas left with his tail firmly between his legs.
It can be argued that Casillas was at fault for four of the five goals Spain conceded on the night, that eventually became the infamous 5-1 defeat. Uncharacteristic errors just kept coming from the highly experienced stopper – with the worst of the bunch coming in the 72nd minute. What looked to be a routine back pass to Casillas turned to calamity. Casillas took a heavy touch straight into the path of Robin Van Persie, who nicked in to steal the ball, and sent the ball home for the fourth goal of the night.
While criticism has come from many angles, an unexpected supporter in Jose Mourinho has come out with public support for the Spain legend. Mourinho, who was the first manager to drop Casillas in favour of Diego Lopez, said “The Goalkeeper is a specific position and I wouldn’t like to make a change after just one poor game.”
Spain are now in a situation where a win is a necessity in their group game against Chile in the Maracanã. Complacency is not an option at this critical stage; therefore it will be interesting to see whether Vicente Del Bosque sticks with the man whom he has showed so much confidence in throughout his spell as manager.
Iker Casillas is only the third captain of all time to lift the World Cup, European Championship and Champions League. His invaluable experience over the years has been a massive factor in Spain winning back to back European Championships, separated by a World Cup in 2010. Spain simply cannot drop Iker Casillas – the best goalkeeper in Spanish football history, just because of one game. I fully expect Casillas to captain the Spanish as ever against Chile, and once again show why he one of the best Goalkeepers we have seen in the game.