Sometimes, it really isn't your day. Shootouts have been pretty cruel to the Spaniards in recent years. Four years ago in Russia, they were eliminated by the hosts in the last 16 after Koke and Iago Aspas failed from 12 yards. And last year, they came up short after a pulsating European Championship semi-final against Italy at Wembley. Dani Olmo and Alvaro Morata were the villains on that occasion. Third time unlucky, then. This time around, there were three players to share the blame. First Sarabia, brought on solely for the shootout, sent his effort against the post, then Soler, who looked like a deer in the headlights walking forward, produced a tame effort which was saved by Bono. Unai Simon, the Spain goalkeeper, gave them hope with a save of his own from Badr Benoun, but next up was captain Sergio Busquets and he, like Soler, failed to beat Bono, leaving Hakimi to break Spanish hearts.
There was something strangely fitting about the manner of Spain's exit, drawing a blank even when given three penalties to get themselves on the board. After all, they'd barely looked like scoring for the previous 120 minutes or more, so why would it change now? It feels remarkable to think that this is a team that began its World Cup campaign with a seven-goal win over Costa Rica, just a couple of weeks ago. Since that masterclass, the Spaniards have looked everything their critics feared they would be; a team of fine technicians, but one completely devoid of a cutting edge. Their three games since have brought more than 2000 passes, an average of 75 per cent possession, 32 shots but only two goals. And it is that, rather than bad luck or 'the lottery' of a shootout, which has cost Luis Enrique's side. They dominated the ball here, but rarely did they look like finding a way through. Their best chance of the 90 minutes fell to Marco Asensio, who smashed into the side-netting, but other than that Bono was underworked in the Moroccan goal. Sarabia did almost win it in the very last minute of extra-time, but saw his volley strike the outside of the post. It would have been cruel on Morocco had it gone in. Spain must go back to the drawing board and find a way to turn talent into efficiency.
We all eagerly await the Spain boss' latest Twitch stream. Luis Enrique wore a wry smile at the end here, but he must know that this goes down as a huge failure for his team, and for himself. They have been one of the most consistent international sides around in the past three or four years, but the promise of the Euros was washed away here. They were so determined to dominate the ball, they forget to go and win the game. They have the talent to regroup and go again. The likes of Gavi, Pedri, Dani Olmo, Ansu Fati, Nico Williams and Alejandro Balde are all highly-gifted young players, while Pau Torres, Eric Garcia and others should start to play a greater role too. But this was surely the end of Busquets, Cesar Azpilicueta and Jordi Alba at this level, and it would be a surprise if the likes of Koke, Sarabia, Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Morata were around much longer too. A change is coming in Spain's national team, but will it include the coach?