Netherlands rout Spain in shocking fashion

Published Friday, June 13, 2014 4:04 PM by Shane Barrow
Netherlands rout Spain in shocking fashion

It is only day two of the World Cup and we were set to be treated to the marquee match of the entire group phases.  A rematch of the 2010 World Cup Final between Spain and Holland.  Many of the same players were on the pitch today from that final in South Africa.  Who would win the day and grab the early advantage in Group B?  Anticipation all around, but few could have foreseen what was to come!

The first big chance of the match fell to the Netherlands and Wesley Sneijder who raced onto a perfectly weighted through ball from Robben.   Sneijder, celebrating his 100th cap, zipped in on goal with the Spain defense in hot pursuit.  Keeper Iker Casillas came out and cut down the angle before palming the Sneijder shot away.

Spain was not to be outdone as Iniesta signaled their intent by whistling a shot from 25 over the Holland crossbar.  The defending champions were awake.

Just like in South Africa, the fouls began to rain down from the  Netherlands as the Spaniards went down easily at every opportunity.  Holland were looking solid though. Their tactics were working and it was obviously going to take a good goal to beat them.

Spain were pushing though.  Bossing the midfield and having the lion share of possession.  Meanwhile, Holland were content to sit and wait for a turnover or counter opportunity.

Then in the 25th minute Diego Costa got loose with a nice pass from Xavi.  Costa dribbled into the box and was tripped by Stefan de Vrij.  Xabi Alonso stepped up and fired his spot kick low past the diving Cillessen for the lead.

The world champions had Holland right where they wanted them.  At some point Holland would have to come out and play and really take some chances.  Then Spain would pounce.  Until then they would play their trademark possession style.

It could have been 2-0 just before halftime when Iniesta found David Villa in a huge gap in the Dutch defense.  Villa dribbled at goal and tried to flick past Cillessen, but the keeper got a hand on the ball and it bounced wide for a corner.

Holland would not go to the break behind though as they scored a truly world class goal.  A goal worthy of a World Cup for sure.  Robin Van Persie made a good run down the middle racing after a wonderful long ball from Daley Blind.  Van Persie laid out and headed over a helpless Iker Casillas who only watched as the ball lofted into the net.  1-1 and game on!

Drama and intrigue expected in the second half for sure and we certainly got it.  Arjen Robben tied the Spain defense in knots with his darting run in the 52nd minute.  A brilliant first touch to bring the ball down was only the start as he cut to his left and shot past Casillas to give the Netherlands the shock lead.

How would the World Champions react?

Initially not so well as on the hour mark Van Persie almost made it 3-1 as he rang the woodwork with a vicious volley.  Spain were looking to be in real trouble.

Del Bosque was spurred to action as he introduced Fernando Torres and Pedro to the Spain attack.  Could the so often disappointing Torres be the hero?

Instead of hero, Torres found himself taking a kickoff after the third Holland goal.  A curling free kick from Sneijder was met at the back post by a trio of Netherlands attackers. Iker Casillas went softly and the ball deflected off Stefan de Vrij and into the net.  3-1 Wow!

Credit to Spain as they went right back about trying to get the match back.  A prolonged attack ended with David Silva poking home.  Unfortunately Silva was clearly ruled offside leaving Spain still needing two goals.

Things would just get worse from there as a massive mistake from Casillas was punished.  Casillas had a horrid first touch that Robin Van Persie pounced on sliding the ball into the empty net.  Ouch.  We may not see Iker Casillas again this World Cup.  4-1 and the rout was on.

As the rain began to fall again, Spain were being made to look quite ordinary.  Then came the exclamation point.  A racing Arjen Robben outran Sergio Ramos before making Casillas and the rest of the Spain defense look lost before putting the ball into the net from six yards out. Let the deserved celebrations begin.

So,what did we learn today?  Spain are in real trouble.  With a vet y good Chile side also in the bracket and the Spain goal differential sufficiently wrecked they could be in real trouble of crashing out in the opening round now.  Two wins required from Chile and Australia are now required.

The Netherlands look to be the real deal.  Might they be the dark horse?  Few have them going far in this World Cup, but it looks like the Oranje are threats!