Reigning World Cup champions Spain leave a lot to be desired after losing in humiliating fashion to the Netherlands on Friday.
Spain were among the favorites to win the World Cup, however after watching their opening match, Spain may be in more trouble than we realize. It was a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain where Spain capitalized in the final minutes to win 1-0. I’m sure this has been on the Dutch minds ever since, especially Arjen Robben’s mind. He had an opportunity in 2010 to win the game for the Netherlands but had his shot blocked by Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Neither side looked impressive in the early minutes of the match. Both had opportunities but we would wait until the ’26th minute before we saw the first goal. Spanish Striker Diego Costa went down in the box on a questionable penalty call, the second such call in as many days. Upon review it appeared as if there was no contact and Costa was able to sell the call. In any case Xavi Alonso stepped in to take the PK and would score on the shot putting Spain up 1-0. That would be the last time the Spanish would make any real noise.
Netherlands striker Robin Van Persie was able to tie the game in the ’44th minute with a spectacular diving header that was perfectly lofted over the head of Iker Casillas. The game would go into halftime tied 1-1. Then things got ugly for Spain.
The second half saw an explosion of goals from the Dutch side. We wouldn’t wait long in the second half before Arjen Robben would pull a ball out of the air, and with technical precision, brought the ball under control and beat two Spanish defenders putting Netherlands up 2-1 in the ’53rd minute.
Following up in the ’64th minute Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij would be the fortunate player to score on the end of a free kick. de Vrij got the slightest of touches on the ball with his foot as he ran into the far post. Netherlands goes up 3-1 and it wouldn’t end there. Spanish midfielder David Silva would later be called for offsides on what could have been a game changing goal. It was not meant to be.
With the Spaniards searching for answers the Dutch would score again, thus completely ending the game at that point. After winning the ball on their defensive half, on what appeared to be a routine pass back to the keeper from Spanish defender Jordi Alba would not work out as hoped. Spanish keeper Iker Casillas’ first touch was bad. So bad that Robin Van Persie who was just outside the penalty box was able to swoop in and steal the loose ball. With nothing but an open net in front of him, Van Persie toe poked the ball in the goal just before Gerard Pique was able to get there to stop the shot. It was the worst of plays by the senior player Casillas, a mistake you rarely see at such a high level. Spain looked absolutely crushed as the Netherlands took a 4-1 lead at that point. Sad to say if you are a Spanish fan, it wouldn’t end there.
Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben would put the proverbial nail in Spain’s coffin, and possibly on their dreams of becoming champions yet again, in the ’80th mintue. A beautiful through-ball from Wesley Sneijder found its way down field and Robben showed his electrifying speed out running Sergio Ramos on his way to pick up his second goal of the match. The goal was reminiscent of the blocked shot by Casillas in the 2010 Cup Final, however this time Robben would get the best of Casillas faking him out on three separate occassions before putting the ball in the back of the net. It was a superb run and a spectacular finish.
The Dutch continued to put pressure on Spain and Iker Casillas with many more attacking opportunities before the final whistle would sound.
The Dutch showed they are capable of moving through the group stage and will most definitely be a team to watch as the Cup goes on. The 5-1 final score leaves the Spanish side with more questions than answers. Questions that I am not convinced they have answers for.
Next up for the Netherlands is Australia on 6/18.
Spain will take on a strong Chile squad on 6/18 in a must win game for the Spanish.