Spain, one of the favourites to win the World Cup and defend their 2010 title, succumbed to a rampant Netherlands team in their heaviest World Cup defeat in over 60 years with a 5-1 demolition. (Agencies)
"Worse than the worst possible nightmare for a team that had never conceded more than one goal in a European or World championship since 2008. A complete cataclysm," Spain's leading newspaper El Pais said.
Madrid, which normally greets victories with blasting car horns and singing along the streets, had gone silent.
"Ladies and gentleman, we've lost the magic touch" sports newspaper AS said.
Spain's defeat in Salvador was also only their fourth competitive loss under coach Vicente del Bosque since he took over in 2008 and has triggered speculation of the team's possible premature return to home.
"Spain started the defense of its title without any defense at all and ended up humiliated by Netherlands," sports newspaper Marca said.
Some newspapers took consolation from the fact that Spain also lost their opening game at the 2010 World Cup to Switzerland but eventually went through as group winners. Spain play Chile in their next Group B match on Wednesday.
Spanish captain Casillas suffers World Cup humbling
Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas symbolised his team's failings as his mistakes helped a rampant Dutch team to take revenge for their defeat in the World Cup final in 2010.
Captain Casillas, who proudly hoisted the trophy four years ago, cut a forlorn figure after the 5-1 thrashing on Friday.
Coach Vicente del Bosque refused to pin the blame on his goalkeeper, who was outjumped for the third Dutch goal and gave away the fourth with a poor piece of control.
"When a team loses a match it's not just the performance of one single player, it’s a weakness in the total squad," Del Bosque said.
"We can't blame anyone, least of all Iker Casillas," he said.
With talented goalkeepers David De Gea and Pepe Reina sitting on the bench, Del Bosque is likely to face pressure to axe Casillas, who has won more than 150 caps.
As a boy, Casillas cost his family a fortune when the youngster forgot to hand in a pools coupon before a weekend when his father correctly forecast a series of draws. But the goalkeeper has more than made amends over the years.
He has been a fixture between the posts as Spain have won the last two European championships, with that first World Cup title sandwiched in between.
He won the Champions League with Real Madrid as a teenager in 2000 and did it again in 2002, days before he turned 21.
Now 33, Casillas is no longer an automatic first choice at his club, but did play in their team which won the Champions League last month.
His rustiness was evident in that Champions League final when another error led to a goal for Atletico Madrid who led until the closing minutes.
It seems that rival players are becoming aware of the goalkeeper's new vulnerability.
"It was a bit of a gamble, but I had spotted Casillas off his line before the cross came in," Dutch striker Robin van Persie said of his spectacular header which tied the game up at 1-1 just before halftime.
Spain, one of the favourites to win the World Cup and defend their 2010 title, succumbed to a rampant Netherlands team in their heaviest World Cup defeat in over 60 years with a 5-1 demolition.