Spain 1-5 Netherlands: The Dutch finally get their revenge
- Netherlands attacking show
- Counter-attacking football from Van Gaal's men
- Lots of goals
- Spain's apathy in the 2nd half
- Very poor defensive display from Spain
Date: June 13 of 2014
Competition: FIFA World Cup 2014
Final score: Spain 1-5 Netherlands
Goals: Xabi Alonso (27′), Robin van Persie (44′, 72′), Robben (53′, 80′), Stefan de Vrij (64′)
Spain line-up: Casillas, Azpilicueta, Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi; Iniesta, David Silva, Diego Costa.
Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, De Vrij, Vlaar, Martins, Janmaat; De Guzman, De Jong, Blind; Sneijder, Robben, Robin van Persie.
Spain and Netherlands met for the first time since that not very distant World Cup final from 2010, a game which the Spanish side won by 1-0 in extra-time, thanks to a goal from Andrés Iniesta. Four years later, the two sides met again in Brazil for the opening round of the 2014 World Cup Group B and the final score was truly surprising to say the least…
The Dutch Team swept aside the the defending champions with an impressive 5-1 result and they’ve done it with total fairness. It’s the first time in the history of the World Cup that the reigning champions are humiliated with such a harsh defeat and even though there were only 3 points at stake last night, Spain may have actually lost much more than that. Nothing seems to have worked the way Vicente del Bosque planned and several team veterans like Iker Casillas, Xavi, Piqué and Sergio Ramos, all had a night they wish to forget as soon as possible.
Howevver, things didn’t actually start going the wrong way for Spain right from the start. With 27 minutes played in the first half, the Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa managed to draw a foul inside Netherlands‘ box, after leaving on the ground Stefan de Vrij when cutting inside. It’s not very clear if the Dutch defender really pulled Costa‘s leg, or if the Atletico forward simply slipped and took advantage of the situation. The referee didn’t think twice though, as he pointed to the spot and allowed Real Madrid‘s Xabi Alonso to send Spain to the first lead in the game.
What happened next wasn’t surely in the mind of the most optimistic Dutch supporters. The Netherlands managed to reach the equalizer just a few minutes before half-time, following a terrific finish from Manchester United‘s forward Robin van Persie, who headed a perfect cross from Blind over a powerless Casillas. All leveled at the “Arena Fonte Nova“, as the two teams walked away from the pitch to head into the locker-rooms for the half-time break.
The second-half brought us a totally different game, with Spain showing a very unusual apathy and the Netherlands playing at their very best level. The 2-1 arrived near the 53rd minute, in a play where Bayern Munich‘s star, Arjen Robben, was given way too much space between Piqué and Sergio Ramos. The talented winger beautifully controlled another high ball sent from one of his teammates, got rid of Piqué with extreme ease and then struck the ball past Iker Casillas to make it 2-1 for the Netherlands.
Spain‘s debacle had just started though and the Dutch’s third goal came on in the 65th minute of the game, following a free-kick taken by Wesley Sneijder near the left side-line. The former Real Madrid and Inter Milan attacking midfielder sent a perfectly weighed cross into the far post and with Iker Casillas clashing against Robin van Persie without intercepting the ball, De Vrij only had to head it into an empty net.
As if things couldn’t get even worse, the Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper messed up again shortly after, this time by failing to control a low pass sent by Sergio Ramos. Casillas’ heavy touch gifted the ball to Man Utd‘s striker, Robin van Persie, and the Dutchman didn’t lose the opportunity to bury his second goal of the night.
The last goal of the game came in around the 80th minute, in a great counter-attack play that left Sergio Ramos against Arjen Robben on a sprint race. The Bayern Munich winger proved to be a lot faster and after going around Casillas, he finished it off the play to make it 5-1 to the Netherlands.
It was a memorable night for the Dutch, who got to revenge their last World Cup loss against Spain in a quite emphatic manner. Could this be the time they go all the way to the final and actually come out victorious, or will we be seeing more of the same in the weeks that lie ahead?