by Gabriel Calderon
Spain's unexpected defeat in their first match reminded me a lot of Argentina loss in the opening game at Italy 1990. We were the favourites and defending champions and nobody expected us to slip up against Cameroon. It was really hard to take because when you start like that you’ve got one foot out of the competition. It unsettles you.
Spain are going to have a lot of pressure on them now. They'll have to win their two remaining games, and even then they’ll have to wait and see how the other games go.
When we lost to Cameroon in Italy, Carlos Bilardo spoke to the whole squad and said that if we got knocked out in the first round it would be better if the plane crashed on the way back home. 'I'm not going to let it land in Buenos Aires,' he told us. Typical Bilardo! We could see where he was coming from, though, and we got the message pretty quickly. After that defeat the team really pulled together and things stayed that way right through to the Final.
Vicente del Bosque has a different style altogether. I know him well from our playing days and we've also bumped into each other at coaching conferences. I've only ever heard good things about him as a person and I know he's the right man to turn this situation around. He knows how to operate under pressure, he commands respect despite his relatively low profile and he has some superb players at his disposal. I think the work he's done and the change in mentality that Jose Camacho and Luis Aragones have brought about in Spanish football can help the team head in the right direction again. It all depends on what kind of form they're in against Chile. That's a decisive game.
I can't say whether they'll do what we did in 1990: pick themselves up and reach the Final. It's too early to say that. What I can say, though, is that they've got more than enough resources to come back and fight for a place in the next round. It won't be easy but they have the players to do it.