Match Report: World Champion Spain thwarted by the Netherlands

Dutch Celebration

Dutch Celebration

Netherlands demolished world champion Spain by 5-1 on Friday night in the opening game of Group B of this year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil. A repeat of the 2010 World Cup final, defending World Champions Spain took on the Netherlands in a very intense game filled with emotions and an awe-inspiring performance by the Oranje  at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. Both teams had each won 4 of their last nine meetings with one ending in a stalemate.

Netherlands should have shot themselves in front after 12 minutes when midfielder Wesley Sneijder failed to pounce on a one-on-one situation against Iker Casillas. It seemed to be an even contest between the two European sides but it was Spain who looked more dangerous in attack, as they kept on piling some pressure.

After 26 minutes, Spain won themselves a penalty kick when Diego Costa was brought down in the 18-yard box after picking a through pass from Silva. Xabi Alonso did no mistake as he powered a low shot past Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen to put Spain in a 1-0 lead to leave the Spanish fans in jubilant mood. In the 30th minute, De Guzmán’s attacking cross into the 18-yard box, found no one to connect. Another perfect cross from left-back Daley Blind had no one to get a touch on it in the 32nd minute, and the opportunity went begging. The Netherlands bounced back into the game after 33 minutes. A thoroughly and enjoyable game in the opening 33 minutes.

An ambitious left-footed effort in the 34th minute by Nigel de Jong was never going to trouble the experienced Iker Casillas in post for the Spaniards. But Del Bosque’s men still kept their resilience as they founded the ball among themselves with their tiki-taka football. Netherlands defender Stefan de Vrij became the second player to be booked after a harsh challenge on Andrés Iniesta in the 36th minute.

A frustrating moment for Spain forward Diego as he received boos and taunts anytime he had the ball, as he was been perceived as a traitor following his decision to boycott his country of birth[Brazil] to play for Spain. David Silva squandered a glorious opportunity in the 42nd minute when he tried to chip the ball over Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, who got his hand to it as he tipped the ball to corner.

A lovely and intelligent goal by Robin van Persie after he broke through the Spanish defense to get a delightful looping header past Iker Casillas to pull even, just on the stroke of half time, following an in-swinging cross from left-back Blind to end the first 45 minutes. The top scorer for the Netherlands has pulled priority.

The second half was comparable to the first half as both teams took off from where they left with Spain pushing forward with more men. Iniesta had his long rang shot saved by Cillessen in the 49th minute. The game tightened up as both teams made incursions at goal. The Dutch began to enjoy possession beating the Spanish to their own tike-taka invention.

Netherlands shot themselves into the lead when Arjen Robben perfectly controlled a first time ball, beat his markers Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos before expertly planting the ball behind Iker Casillas with his left foot, after receiving a nice top pass from Nigel de Jong in the 53rd minute. Netherlands began to control the pace of the game after that goal. Interesting scenes unfolded as the game become livelier.

FACT: That was Robben’s fourth World Cup goal in his ninth match at the global showpiece event. He scored once in 2006 and twice in 2010. He joined Robin van Persie as the only Dutchmen to score at three World Cups finals!!! Netherlands still showed signs of how dangerous they when Robin van Persie hit the upright with his weaker foot after a quick break from Arjen Robben who had been tormenting the Spanish defense.

OFF THE BAR! Some superb build-up play by Arjen Robben led to Janmaat helping the ball on to Van Persie. The Dutch skipper slammed the ball right-footed at Casillas’ goal and the ball ricocheted off the frame of the goal in the 60th minute. So close!!!! Both coaches effected substitutions in the 62nd minute. Dutch coach Van Gaal brought on Georginio Wijnaldum for De Guzmán; Spain: on the other hand, brought on Pedro for Xabi Alonso, Torres for Costa and Fàbregas for Silva.

A beautifully whipped in by Sneijder had Stefan de Vrij getting his head on to the ball to bundle it in at the near post to make it 3-1 after 65 minutes. The defending champion had been thwarted by the Dutch after starting on a bright note. In the 67th minute, David Silva had his consolation goal disallowed after pouncing on a rebound as he was adjudged offside.

Another vigorous attempt by Robin van Persie had Iker Casillas save the ball with his legs in the 68th minute. The Dutch had raised their game after starting slowly. A sloppy move by Iker Casillas had Robin van Persie hit his brace, when he capitalized on the mistake by the Spanish goalkeeper to put the ball behind the empty net in the 72nd minute. Incredible stuff there was at the Arena Fonte Nova!!!! Casillas poor controlled the ball and Van Persie pounced on it, took a touch and poked home. The world champion had totally been stunned!!!! 

Van Gaal brought out his third goal scorer Stefan de Vrij for Joël Veltman, while Jeremain Lens came on for two-goal hero Robin van Persie. A scintillating quick break from the Dutch, saw Arjen Robben taking on the Spanish defense to exhibit his piece of skill and trickery when he confidently dribbled Iker Casillas to slot the ball at the back of the net.

GOAL! ROBBEN! It was a rout in the rain in Salvador! Incredible touch, pace and awareness from the Bayern winger who steamed past Sergio Ramos, rounded Casillas and kept his cool to slam home. Total humiliation in the camp of the world Champion!!!!! The Dutch showed no mercy as they pushed forward for more goals even after their 4-goal lead. Fernando Torres was presented with an excellent opportunity, but he took a touch and the chance passed him by. A glorious chance missed! A complete annihilation of the world champion by the Oranje  in Salvador.

There were some incredibly glum faces on the Spanish bench and in the crowd. Louis van Gaal’s young side (the squad on average is 2 years younger than Spain’s) had been harried and pressed Spain into complete submission, despite enjoying 40 per cent of possession on the day. Spain

Starting XI: Iker Casillas, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Cesar Azpilicueta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso/ Pedro, Diego Costa/Fernando Torres, Andrés Iniesta, David Siva/Cesc Fàbregas.

Netherlands starting XI: Jasper Cillessen, Ron Vlaar, Bruno Martins Indi, Stefan Vrij/ Wijnaldum, Delay Blind, Daryl Janmaat, Wesley Sneijder, Nigel de Jong, Jonathan de Guzmán/Joël Veltman, Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie/Lens

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