CURITIBA, BRAZIL - BRASILIA - It was fitting that Spain wore unfamiliar black for their meaningless 3-0 win against Australia on Monday as the nation continues to mourn the loss of the debut World Cup crown they won in South Africa four years ago.Follow @SlamSports
It was also apt that forwards David Villa and Fernando Torres, whose goals helped propel La Roja to unprecedented success over the past six years, scored on what may be their final international appearances.
Villa, Spain's record marksman with 59 goals in 97 outings, struck with a clever backheel to put Spain 1-0 ahead and Torres made it 2-0 with a cool finish for his 38th goal in his 110th game before substitute Juan Mata added a late third.
It was scant consolation for defeats to the Netherlands and Chile in their opening two Group B games in Brazil but at least meant Spain avoided the ignominy of having to return home without a victory.
Between them, Villa and Torres have scored 22 goals at World Cup finals and European Championships, the 30-year-old Torres hitting the winner in the Euro 2008 final against Germany and top scoring at Euro 2012, which Villa missed through injury.
Villa, 32, broke down in tears on the bench after he was replaced by Mata in the 56th minute in what would be an emotional end to a career during which he netted nine goals at three different World Cups, including five in 2010.
He said he would dearly like to continue, although his decision to leave Atletico Madrid and join Major League Soccer (MLS) side New York City FC makes that less likely.
"It has always given me great joy to play for the Spanish national team," Villa told reporters, adding that he hoped someone would break his scoring record before too long.
"I would like to play until I am 55 as it is what I have loved for as long as I can remember," he added.
"But I know it is going to be difficult and the most natural thing would be for it to end here."
Thoughts now turn to the qualifying campaign for Euro 2016 when Spain will be chasing a third consecutive continental triumph at the tournament in France.
"We have a new goal and we want you to join us: defending our European title," the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said on the national team's Twitter feed (@sefutbol) immediately after the final whistle in Curitiba.
Spain have been drawn in a relatively easy-looking qualification group with Macedonia, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Ukraine and Belarus and their opening match is at home to Macedonia on Sept. 8.
Before then coach Vicente del Bosque needs to decide if he will see out his contract, which runs until after Euro 2016, or make way.
Del Bosque, who took over from the late Luis Aragones after Euro 2008, said his future will be decided in coming days and the signs are that he will carry on as he has the firm backing of the federation and, perhaps more importantly, the players.
Despite the debacle in Brazil, Spain are not on the brink of a sweeping revolution but some of the team's other stalwarts are also likely to make way for aspiring youngsters.
Goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas and midfielders Xavi and Xabi Alonso may have some role to play in Euro 2016 qualifying but are unlikely to feature in France.
There is plenty of reason for Spanish fans to be optimistic, with a talented group of players already breaking into the first team who have achieved success at Under-21 level.
David De Gea is being groomed to replace Casillas in goal, the likes of Thiago Alcantara and Koke are similar players to Xavi and forward Diego Costa will at some point surely begin to reproduce the form he showed for Atletico Madrid last season.
Forwards Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo, who have a similar profile to Costa, look to have the potential to succeed at the top and there remains a core of senior players who still have much to offer, including midfielders Andres Iniesta and David Silva and defender Sergio Ramos.
There is also a younger group of established internationals like midfielder Sergio Busquets, forwards Juan Mata and Pedro and defenders Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Cesar Azpilicueta.
"The future is safe and we should all be calm about what lies ahead," Del Bosque said.