Spain's quiet one slinks away with a whimper
Spain's coach Vicente Del Bosque attends the Group B football match between Spain and Chile in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 18, 2014 - by Yasuyoshi Chiba
Imperious at their last three major tournaments where they won two European Championships either side of the World Cup in South Africa, Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Chile earnt Spain the unwanted shame of surrendering their crown at the group stages.
And for Del Bosque, who has always shunned the limelight in victory, he surely won't be able to avoid the din this calamity will make.
Defeats to the Netherlands and Chile ensured Spain have already been eliminated even before their final Group B match.
But after years of glorious success with Real Madrid and then Spain, it is a most unbefitting way for Del Bosque to walk away from the tournament.
With a whimper, but with one that crackles with the volume of thunder.
Before this tournament Del Bosque was praised for his unusually modest and deferential style for a modern coach -- he appeared to epitomise the term lugubrious.
The 63-year-old rarely gets up off the bench and does not raise his voice in a press conference, let alone claim to be "special."
However, Del Bosque could lay claim to being the most decorated active coach in world football having won virtually every major honour at club and international level.
After leading Real Madrid to two Champions League and two La Liga titles in three-and-a-half years in charge of Los Blancos, the call came to succeed Luis Aragones as Spain boss following their victory at the European Championships in 2008.
Taking over a side that had won its first major tournament in 44 years appeared a difficult act to follow, but Del Bosque's calm demeanour and conservative tactics allowed Spain's ludicrously talented generation to flourish.
Two years after his appointment, Del Bosque led Spain to their first World Cup triumph in South Africa and followed that success by defending their European title in Poland and Ukraine in 2012.
Del Bosque arrived in Brazil hoping to join Italian Vittorio Pozzo as the only man to win the World Cup twice as a coach and become the first man to lead his side to three successive major tournament victories.
It wasn't to be.
As someone who has never clambered to the top of the tallest tower to sing his own praises, he has at times perhaps been denied the accolades he deserves.
Many have contended that he was lucky to have coached the Real 'galacticos' followed by Spain's golden generation.
But in Madrid he expertly managed a dressing room full of bloated egos while with La Roja he has united the warring factions of Real and Barcelona.
After a fierce spell of four El Clasicos in 18 days in 2012 that left scars on both sides of the divide, Del Bosque said he "feared" for the future of the national team.
Yet, guided by two of his most loyal lieutenants in Real captain Iker Casillas and Barca's most decorated player of all-time, Xavi Hernandez, the splits were mended and a year later Spain were European champions once more.
"He has taught me how to live with victory," says Casillas.
"He has maintained the same calm in tough moments and on days of glory parading a trophy. He has helped us as footballers and as fans. Respect and normality is what defines him day-to-day."
One thing Del Bosque was accused of was being overly loyal to those who brought him success, rather than blooding the new breed of double European champions -- the under-21s, winners of the 2011 and 2013 continental tournaments.
This Brazilian debacle will only sharpen such tongues, and don't expect Del Bosque to lead the chorus of his defenders.