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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Casillas admits poor game vs. Dutch

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas said he had endured a bad night, but was quick to congratulate Netherlands after their 5-1 demolition of the defending champions in Brazil.

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Spain led through a Xavi Alonso penalty but conceded a spectacular equaliser to Robin van Persie late in the first half and then fell apart in the second as they conceded four more goals.

Casillas, who was at fault for the third -- and particularly the fourth -- Netherlands goals, told AS: "They played phenomenally and we didn't. I also didn't play well, and what happened, happened."

He said Vicente del Bosque's men had to treat their next group game against Chile "as if it were the final" and admitted: "We knew at 1-3 that it was over."

Match 3
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Meanwhile, midfielder Xavi said the disastrous performance could be the spur Spain needed, adding: "Sometimes it can be good that these things happen."

He insisted: "We shouldn't dramatise this too much. We are world champions, and we can take the criticism. It's normal."

Defender Jordi Alba also said he believed things could only improve for Spain. "We had certain expectations, but we did things badly. We're sure that this will change -- it doesn't mean anything," he explained.

Sergio Ramos insisted the huge defeat did not spell the end of his side's hopes of defending their title. He told AS: "It was difficult. It wasn't the start we were after, but it isn't the end of things.

"We are all at fault. We wanted another result. We must not take anything away from Netherlands, who were inspired."

"At 1-0, we could have made it 2-0 [when David Silva had an effort saved seconds before Van Persie's equaliser] and we didn't.

"But the success that this side has come from lifting itself up from difficult moments. We have to self-criticise. We also need to have the same humility that we have always had."


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