Beaten by a goal from Jerry Bengtson, bamboozled by Roger Espinoza and thoroughly thwarted by José Mendoza, this young Spanish team received a valuable reminder that they are mortal after all.
There will be no glamorous Olympic final against Brazil – or anyone else – for Spain's players whose final group game with Morocco is academic after their elimination by a feistily impressive Honduran side they perhaps underestimated.
"Going home," predicted the St James' Park choir when Bengtson gave the underdogs an eighth-minute lead which Spain never quite found a riposte to and future opponents would be most unwise to take the Central Americans similarly lightly.
"Everyone's disappointed, everyone's sad," said Luis Milla, Spain's coach whose players were unlucky not to at least equalise but lost their cool to the extent that seven were booked with Ander Herrera's late body check on Bengtson particularly cynical. Not to mention emblematic of a sometimes ill tempered contest.
"It was an intense match, with tensions and disputes among players and these things can happen when you want to win so much and are playing so intensely," said Milla.
Stung by defeat to Japan in their first Group D game, Milla fielded a side featuring three members of Spain's Euro 2012 winning squad. Unfazed by the presence of Jordi Alba, Javier Martínez and Juan Mata, Honduras merely delighted in disrupting the hallmark Iberian pass and move game.
When Espinoza crossed from the left, Bengtson all too easily out-leapt Alba before thumping a header beyond Manchester United's rather stunned looking goalkeeper, David de Gea. Judging by the ecstatic reaction of a Honduran side featuring Wigan's Maynor Figueroa at left back an uninitiated spectator may have imagined they had won the World Cup.
Unlike certain colleagues who began half a yard off the pace and gave the impression they were mentally halfway up the steps of the plane which will carry them back to Madrid, Mata seemed determined to transform Spanish fortunes. Indeed Mendoza, the Honduras goalkeeper, had reason for relief in the first half when three Mata efforts, one a wonderfully executed low volley, flew fractionally wide.
Milla's players seemed rather affronted at the willingness of individuals such as Wilmer Crisanto and Espinoza to run at them and Martin Montoya was booked for an abrasive lunging tackle on Espinoza. Tellingly, Javier Martínez had earlier been yellow carded for a similarly inelegant challenge on the same player and, at the end of the first half, the referee was surrounded by Honduran players apparently protesting at what they perceived as lenient treatment enjoyed by Spain.
After half time, Espinoza continued in similarly opponent disorienting vein and was unlucky to see a close range header rebound off a post. By now though Spain had raised their game and no one more so than the suddenly dynamic Iker Muniain.
While Muniain struck the base of a post with a fabulous left foot shot, Mendoza continued to defy all comers, saving smartly from Mata and then performing wonders to somehow stretch out a fingertip and divert a goalbound header from substitute Rodgrio away for a corner.
"This is a team full of players who play at the highest level," said Milla. "We will have to analyse what's happened."
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