Friday, June 13, 2014 10:33 pm
A blistering second half performance in Salvador saw the Netherlands inflict a humbling 5-1 defeat on world champions Spain in the opening Group B match of the World Cup.
The match was a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final which Spain won via a lone extra-time goal but the Netherlands got vengeance in emphatic manner tonight.
Xabi Alonso had put Spain ahead with a 27th minute penalty after Diego Costa was adjudged to have been fouled in the area, a decision that was disputed by the Dutch players who claimed their was no contact.
With half-time approaching, Manchester United striker Robin van Persie brought the Dutch level with a flying header off a Daley Blind cross from midfield, catching Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas off his line.
Blind was the provider again with a cross from midfield which found Arjen Robben at the edge of the Spain area, with the Bayern forward bringing the ball down with a great first touch before leaving Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique scrambling with two more touches and shooting past Casillas.
Defender Stephan de Vrij capitalised on a Casillas error from a Dutch cornerkick to make it 3-1 for the Dutch while van Persie saw a first-time volley cannon off the crossbar minutes later.
The 30 year old Dutch captain would however get his second goal soon after to make it 4-1, capitalising on another defensive mix-up by Spain who were dazed by the Dutch momentum.
Robben would then complete the Spanish humiliation late on as he dribbled past Casillas before picking his spot and firing in to make it 5-1 for the Dutchmen.
Robben still had time to force Casillas into a good save while Fernando Torres, on for the disappointing Diego Costa who was booed by the Brazilian crowd each time he was on the ball, squandered an open-goal opportunity.
The result is the first time Spain have lost a match after scoring first in eight years, while the five goals conceded already beats the total number of goals Spain let in at the 2010 World Cup.
For the Netherlands and coach Louis van Gaal, it is a massive vindication of the experimental 5-3-2 formation and makes them a firm favourite to go all the way at the World Cup.