If Chelsea's game against Corinthians in the Club World Cup Final was a job interview for Rafael Benitez, it's safe to say that he has failed with flying colours, his side putting in a pretty awful performance as they fell 1-0 to Corinthians courtesy of Paolo Guerrero's 69th-minute winner.
It was perhaps an indication of how determine both clubs were to win the game that Chelsea's travelling fans were outnumbered some 20-1 by the 20,000 Corinthians fans that had made the trip, although it did not appear that way at first as the Blues started on the front foot and it appeared the match would be a contest of attack vs. defence.
First Fernando Torres was released in the area by Frank Lampard, before he and Victor Moses both had shots blocked. From the resulting corner, Gary Cahill went close to putting the Blues in the lead, but Corinthians goalkeeper Cassio did well to keep his effort out.
As the first half wore on, however, the Brazilian side began to come into the game more and more, but for all their dominance of possession, they failed to commit enough men forward to make the most of it, and their efforts were mostly restricted to long-range shots by Paulinho and Danilo, both of which failed to find the net.
Both sides would go their closest to take the lead just before the end of the half - first Victor Moses miscontrolled a fine pass from Eden Hazard which had left him with a clear chance, before Paolo Guerrero stabbed a low effort across goal which Emerson could only direct into the side of the post from a tight angle. Moses almost made up for his error with a fine curling effort as he cut inside from the wing, but Cassio proved equal to it to keep the scores level.
Rafael Benitez's previous association with Fernando Torres will have been a factor in him getting the job, and the striker had shown an upsurge in form recently, but after the second half, as the game wore on, he appeared to be back to his despondent worst - one particularly embarrassing episode seeing him slip to the turf when attempting to control a routine ball.
Chelsea began to commit themselves forward in an attempt to find a breakthrough, but their midfield of Frank Lampard and Ramires led to more indiscipline and miscontrol - after failing to create any real chances, they were soon behind - Danilo's shot was blocked by Gary Cahill, and Paolo Guerrero managed to race onto it to head into the Blues' net with their defenders stood watching.
Chelsea's confidence appeared to be deflated rather than inspired by falling behind, and they created perhaps less after the goal than they had done at any point in the match. They were presented with one clear opportunity, however, when Fernando Torres got on the end of Cesar Azpilicueta's long throw in the area, but Cassio came out to smother him and a fine chance went begging.
It wasn't to be the final note of the game, with two more events summing up Chelsea's defeat - first Gary Cahill was given a red card for an off-the-ball incident on Emerson, and then Fernando Torres had the ball in the net only for it to be ruled offside - correctly, as replays showed.
The final whistle that heralded the crowning of Corinthians as the best side in world football will have meant little in the grand scheme of things to Chelsea, but in the context, it seemed to sum up their reign as European Champions - having gotten there and proven unable to live up to the mantle. Today was a return to the early woes of the Rafael Benitez regime, a sloppy mistake costing them as they were impotent in attack. Mikel's absence will be the biggest talking point, with Lampard and Ramires proving incapable of providing the solidity required, but the Blues' problems appear to go deeper than that. It may not be a trophy as prestigious as the name suggests, but this defeat will still hurt.