The licking the Netherlands handed out to reigning world champions Spain in Salvador has prompted several punters to rule out the prospect of La Furia Roja regaining their intercontinental crown.
Vicente del Bosque’s side have drifted out to 13/1 to claim a second successive World Cup, but there’s likely to be more lumped on the 83/100 about their group-stage elimination following their 5-1 loss to the Netherlands.
De Oranje were equally friendless prior to the start of the World Cup, but their detractors promptly got in line once the referee called time on the Group B opening fixture.
If lessons weren’t learned from the Netherlands’ spectacular upturning of the form book, perhaps these five prematurely delivered last-rites readings will convey the message that the lid on Spain’s coffin isn’t quite yet nailed down.
Fans feared the worst when Ramsay Street’s favourite Neighbour was condemned to Davey Jones’ locker in 1991.
The scribes behind Australia’s favourite soap opted for a miraculous resurrection of old Bish five years later – he returned to the Street unable to explain his disappearance, citing a bout of amnesia lasting half a decade as mitigation.
Joe Public made one its gravest mistakes in assuming the smoothest operator of racket and ball the game of tennis has ever witnessed was finished following a dearth of Grand Slam final appearances following his 2010 Australian Open triumph.
Andy Murray, then, couldn’t have hoped for a better opponent than the spent Swiss in his maiden Wimbledon final in 2012, right? Wrong.
Federer skipped off the scrapheap and sauntered to a 3-1 win, reducing the Scot and his backers to tears.
The bubble in which R9 floated to superstardom inside at the 1998 World Cup was punctured after an abject performance in the final.
He spent the following four years saturating the Inter Milan wage bill, making a handful of appearances owing to injury issues.
Few would’ve backed him to claim the Golden Boot in the 2002 tournament on the back of this, but the Brazilian goalsmith made a mockery of the masses with eight strikes in Japan and South Korea to claim the sparkling shoe with ease.
The monotony of his humdrum existence jeopardised both the career and marriage of poor Perrin, forcing him into a faux suicide.
Assuming a fake identity, he started work on a pig farm where, like Lazarus out of a pile of livestock dung, he rediscovered the joyous side of life, which prompted him to start several successful business endeavours and won back the love of his wife.
England Rugby Union Team
Much like Spain in this very moment, the English were expected to relinquish their rugby union world title at the earliest possible moment in the 2007 tournament.
Two coaches vacated the post following their 2003 World Cup triumph, leaving the uninspiring Brian Ashton to take the team to France with little fanfare.
To see the holders venture all the way to final would’ve raised ample eyebrows, offering La Seleccion the perfect example of how to respond in the face of adversity.