Fernando Torres, the winner of the adidas Golden Shoe at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, has practically seen it all during his time on the international stage. He has competed in, youth and senior tournaments combined, seven finals in a Spain shirt, a record that puts him in an ideal position to analyse the decisive 3-0 loss suffered by La Roja at the hands of their Brazilian hosts on Sunday.
And although the disappointment was clearly still fresh in his mind, the 29-year-old goal machine did not hesitate to take a few minutes to share his post-match thoughts with FIFA.com in the corridors of the Estadio do Maracana.
FIFA.com: What is your take on what is quite a surprising result?
Fernando Torres: The key was losing a goal in the second minute of the match. From that point onwards, our approach and our gameplan had to change. We were close to getting caught on the counter-attack a few times. We failed to adapt to the situation and we lost our head a bit. We didn’t know whether to push forwards or hang back; we were in a bit of disarray. To make matters worse, they scored again on one of their break-aways to make it 2-0 just before half-time.
It was strange to see Spain concede a goal early in each half.
We were confident we could raise our game and come back, but we started badly again and let in a third goal. Things got worse, as we then missed a penalty and had a man sent off. It was one of those days when nothing goes your way, right from the start.
Can you learn anything from this defeat?
Everybody thinks that Spain should win every match and reach every final, but it’s not as easy as that. What we’re trying to do is very difficult, and you can’t win all the time.
[We] have achieved something that no other team has ever done: won three major tournaments in a row. Next year we’re coming over here to make it four.
Was this just a blip, then?
Of course, yes; a blip against a team that played better than us. We’ve already experienced similar matches: we played badly versus Argentina, Portugal and Italy. We lost some other games, and were thrashed in some. Although they were friendlies and today was a final, it won’t change how we approach things in the future. All that remains is for us to congratulate the champions. Brazil were better than us and won the match fair and square.
Could the 3-0 result serve as a wake-up call or motivational spur?
This team doesn’t need a wake-up call, nor do we need a defeat to regain our motivation. If there is something positive to be taken from the match, it’s this: it’s confirmed something that we already knew, that it’s not going to be easy to beat Brazil on their own patch. That said, in one year's time we’ll be back here as world champions to defend what’s ours.
Some observers have claimed that this was a litmus test for Spain.
We didn’t and don’t have to pass any test. We’re world champions and two-time European champions, and have achieved something that no other team has ever done: won three major tournaments in a row. Next year we’re coming over here to make it four.
On a personal level, what do you take from the tournament?
When you play for Spain, things can change at any moment, in a good and bad way. I started on the bench, and then I got some playing time under my belt and scored some goals, although they served little purpose in the end. Obviously I value the top goalscorer prize, but it’s an award that you can only really enjoy when you win. As far as I’m concerned, if we’ve not won, it’s not much use to me.
How do you see the team a year from now?
We’re doing well; we’re a complete unit. God willing, the team will have a similar look to it. We’ll have Xabi Alonso back, while the U-20 and U-21 players will be pushing for a place. And the U-23 guys are already first-team regulars in top teams across Europe. If you add in the experience that we got from this tournament, which is a major bonus, there are reasons for us to be optimistic.
Will you come back to Brazil with a desire for revenge?
Football is great for that, because you always get another chance. One year from now, hopefully we’ll be here and have a chance to make up for today, not necessarily to gain revenge on Brazil, but for our own sake.