Mata disappointed with Olympics
Spain were widely considered amongst the favourites for the Olympic football tournament, touted along with Brazil as odds on to win the gold medal.
However, the reigning World and European champions had a tournament to forget during which they failed to score a goal and were booted out in the group stage after winning only a single point following 1-0 defeats to both Japan and Honduras and a 0-0 draw with Morocco.
Although the Olympic squads are not full strength national sides, comprising of under-23 players and three overage players, the Spanish squad still boasted a great deal of top class talent, including the likes of Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, new Barcelona signing Jordi Alba and Athletic Bilbao midfield enforcer Javi Martinez, who has recently been linked with a £30 million plus move to some of the top sides in Europe.
Even without the full complement of regular internationals, this was still a squad that many would have rightly considered strong enough to overcome their largely ordinary opponents.
One of the overage players, Chelsea’s Juan Mata, has been amongst those to publicly express his disappointment at the outcome. He himself was a member of the national squad that won an unprecedented third consecutive major tournament in Poland and Ukraine earlier this summer, and after inspiring Chelsea to Champions League victory will have been eager to secure a third trophy of the summer in London.
He wrote on Twitter: “It’s been a pity, I do believe that this team deserved more… We have to learn and grow from defeats.”
Although the Olympics are not considered one of football’s most coveted prizes, the Spanish football association will no doubt be wondering how they managed to perform so poorly in a tournament they were strongly expected to dominate.