SPAIN 1-5 NETHERLANDS
FRIDAY 13TH JUNE – SALVADOR
A wonderful second half performance lead by Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben handed Spain a heavy 5-1 defeat in their opening game of Group B.
Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands inflicted the ultimate World Cup revenge on defending champions Spain as the Oranje crushed Vicente del Bosque’s side 5-1 in a major shock.
In 2010 the Dutch, once owners of the term ‘Total Football’, were heavily criticised for the fierce tactics they used during their World Cup final defeat to the Spaniards in South Africa. In the second half of tonight’s clash, the roles were indeed utterly reversed.
The Spanish took the lead through a disputed Xabi Alonso penalty. Brazilian born striker Diego Costa, booed by locals for choosing to play for the World Champions rather than his home country, fell softly under Stefan de Vrij’s challenge and Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli awarded the spot-kick. Although, Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen dived the right way, he was unable to stop Alonso’s conversion.
It looked that Spain would head into the half-time team talks a goal to the good but Manchester United striker Robin van Persie had other ideas. A sublime deep cross from young left wing-back Daley Blind was whipped into the edge of the area. Van Persie slipped away from Sergio Ramos to send a looping header over Iker Casillas in goal to make it 1-1. Quite simply it was an amazing goal, an amazing ball from Blind and amazing skill from Van Persie to hit the back of the net.
Bayern Munich’s ‘flying Dutchman’ Arjen Robben completed the turnaround shortly after the interval on 51 minutes. The winger skilfully controlled Van Persie’s pass and shifted on to his left foot to fire past a helpless Casillas.
The Dutch had the lead, but instead of dropping back into their own half to protect the lead, they proved to be relentless and killed off Spain’s chances of a point. RVP gave La Roja a scare minutes later, smashing a volley off the crossbar, before young Feyenoord centre-back Stefan De Vrij atoned for his earlier error by heading in a third from a free-kick. After flapping at the cross, Casillas wanted a foul by Van Persie, but Rizzoli and his fellow officials did not agree.
Spain thought they had a lifeline soon after but David Silva had a goal chalked off for offside, before a terrible mistake rounded a torrid 10 minutes for Casillas. After a heavy touch, Casillas lost the ball in his area to Van Persie, who stabbed home for the fourth.
Usually possessive with the ball, Spain were hanged their heads as the Dutch’s devastating speed tore their defenders apart which was proven with the fifth goal. With Spanish defenders falling at his feet in the area, Robben sped past Sergio Ramos and managed to flick the ball past Casillas back on to his left foot. The defenders on the line were given no chance as the Dutchman fired past into the net.
Before Robben was replaced by Dynamo Kiev’s Jeremain Lens on 79 minutes, he was denied a hat-trick as Casillas parried a thunderous volley.
For the remainder of the game the Dutch contingent in Salvador cheered on Van Gaal’s men as they eased out to an emphatic 5-1 victory. A truly unbelievable result that no pundit or fan saw coming.
SPAIN: Casillas, Azpilicueta, Sergio Ramos, Pique, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso (Pedro 63), Iniesta, David Silva (Fabregas 78), Diego Costa (Torres 63).
GOALS: Xabi Alonso 27P.
BOOKINGS: Casillas 65.
NETHERLANDS: Cillessen, De Vrij (Veltman 77), Vlaar, Martins Indi, Janmaat, Blind, De Jong, De Guzman (Wijnaldum 62), Sneijder, Van Persie, Robben (Lens 79).
GOALS: Van Persie 44, 72, Robben 51, 80, De Vrij 64.
BOOKINGS: De Guzman 25, De Vrij 42, Van Persie 66.
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