Salvador: The Netherlands thrashed Spain 5-1 Friday, toying with the defending champions in the second half and gaining a measure of revenge for its 2010 loss in the World Cup final.
Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben both scored twice and defender Stefan de Vrij grabbed his first international goal in a humiliating defeat for a Spain team that has won its last three major tournaments.
It was the worst loss for Spain in the game's showcase tournament since a 6-1 defeat to Brazil in 1950.
In one game, Van Persie doubled his goal tally from the whole 2010 World Cup. The orange-clad Dutch fans at the Arena Fonte Nova gave him a standing ovation when he was substituted.
The victory was particularly sweet for Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, who was criticized for his decision to play five defenders against Spain. He insisted the formation had attacking potential as well as nullifying Spain's fluent passing game.
It did. And then some.
At the end, Dutch fans were roaring "Ole" as their team passed the ball around and Spain chased them.
It all started so well for Spain, with Xabi Alonso converting a 27th minute penalty. But it went downhill fast after Van Persie tied the game with an unbelievable looping header shortly before half time. Daley Blind launched a 40-yard pass from near midfield, and Van Persie timed his leap perfectly to guide the ball gently over goalie Iker Casillas, who helplessly watched it go into the net.
Spain, which won the 2010 final thanks to an Andres Iniesta extra-time goal, exerted most of the pressure in the first half of the rematch, but had no answer once the Dutch went ahead and continually hit them on the break.
The final goal came after Robben weaved around Casillas — who was crawling on the grass in desperation — and fired into the untended net.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque sat stony faced on his bench at full time, while Van Gaal walked onto the pitch to hug his players.
"This is a very delicate moment for us, and all of us have to find a way to solve it," Del Bosque said.
Spain lost its first match in 2010, and they still have a good chance to get out of the group stage if they can defeat Chile and Australia.
Highlights of the match:
- 87th minute: Wijnaldum gets a pull-back, composes himself and takes a shot to make it 6-1 but Casillas saves, gets up and sees Robben's volley from the rebound storm towards him before pulling off another fantastic save. It's still 5-1.
- GOAL! 80th minute: It's getting worse for the champions -- this is absolute decimation! Robben scampers away from all of Spain's defence, beating Ramos for pace, turning, toying with the defenders before crashing a shot into an empty net. Yes, empty net because he also dodged Casillas -- who is almost in tears.
- GOAL! 72nd minute: HO HO HO! This is quite amazing -- Casillas with a heavy touch on a back-pass and Van Persie pounces robs the ball of him before slotting it in. 4-1 to Netherlands. Would you believe it!
- GOAL! 65th minute: Sneijder with the freekick to the far post and it's De Vrij (who conceded the penalty early in the match) who gets at the end of it to squeeze the ball into the net. It's 3-1 to the Netherlands.
- 60th minute: Robben goes on one of those crazy runs and lays it off for Janmaat who lobs it into the path of Van Persie. The Manchester United man takes his time and sends a stinging shot towards goal which cannons off the bar. Close! So close!
- GOAL! 53rd minute: Blind with another early ball towards Robben who brings it down, feigns a shot with his right to get the ball onto his precious left foot — takes a touch and slams it through the legs of Casillas to give Netherlands a 2-1 lead.
- GOAL! 45th minute: Incredible! Simply sensational stuff from Van Persie as he dives from the edge of the box to reach a super early cross from Blind — his header sailing over Casillas and into the net. What -- A -- Goal.
- 42nd minute: Oh what a ball from Iniesta from near the halfway line for David Silva, who collects, controls and tries to chip it over Cillesen — but the Dutch keeper gets a glove to it and it stays out. What a save!
- GOAL! 27th minute: Diego Costa dummies in the box and his back-leg seems to have been dragged down by de Vrij — referee points to the spot and Xabi Alonso slots it in. Contentious penalty -- it would be interesting to see what Luis van Gaal has to say about that.
- 20th minute: Glorious through-ball from Xabi Alonso for David Silva but the latter can't pull the trigger in time.
- 13th minute: Costa's one-on-one now but the ball gets stuck under his feet before Vlaar makes the telling tackle!
- 8th minute: Sneijder's clean through on goal but Casillas nonchalantly blocks it as if nothing happened. Wow, incredibly goalkeeping — but that should have been finished with ease.
Updated Date: Jun 14, 2014 15:12:07 IST