Spain's World Cup campaign came to an end in extraordinary circumstances on Sunday as they crashed out on penalties to Russia.
Fernando Hierro took the job a day before the tournament began and witnessed his side draw with Portugal, struggle past Iran, and then be held by Morocco in the group stages.
In the last-16, 120 minutes was not enough to separate them from the hosts and the inquest has now begun into where it all went wrong.
David de Gea has faced much of the ammunition from the Spanish public, with the Manchester United goalkeeper having saved just one of the 11 shots on target he faced, including spot-kicks.
The departed Julen Lopetegui will also shoulder blame, the Spanish FA accusing him of betraying them by taking the Real Madrid job.
There is an argument, of course, that penalties are nothing more than potluck, but few would have predicted that both Koke and Iago Aspas would fail to find the back of the net.
Diego Costa seems to have been the exception, however, with TV channel Deportes Cuatro spotting what he was up to while his team-mates deliberated over who should take the penalties.
The striker had been taken off so he was unavailable, but he still had strong opinions about who would be allowed the dubious honour of taking one.
Costa wasn't happy
As brought to our attention by Marca,the 29-year-old tried to intrude when Hierro asked his Atletico Madrid team-mate if he was prepared to step up.
The midfielder replied "si, si", with Hierro then telling Costa: "Koke is fine."
The former Chelsea man asked for Sergio Ramos' opinion and he too expressed concerns, perhaps because he felt Koke was tired after extra time.
After reiterating to Ramos that he was happy to be a part of Spain's chosen five, Igor Akinfeev saved his penalty.
Costa's response? He stepped out of the line of players to catch his manager's eye and muttered, "te lo dije", meaning "I told you so."
As the 2010 champions came to terms with the crushing disappointment of a relatively early exit, he headed down the tunnel with Hierro talking, though there's no suggestion that conversation was anything but amicable.
All this might never have happened had VAR not denied La Roja a penalty in extra-time.
Fate was clearly with Russia, who have reached the last eight for the first time since the end of the Soviet Union.
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