Netherlands Shocks Defending Champion Spain in 5-1 World Cup Opener

Netherlands beat Spain 5-1 in their opening World Cup Group B match on Friday.

Netherlands' Robin van Persie dribbles Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas before scoring during the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014. Photo: Sam liquid/Flickr

Netherlands’ Robin van Persie dribbles Spain’s goalkeeper Iker Casillas before scoring during the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014. Photo: Sam liquid/Flickr

It was one shameful game for Spain with a tremendous victory of Netherlands trashing the defending world champions 5-1 Friday.It was Spain’s worst loss in the tournament since a 6-1 defeat to Brazil in 1950.

Spain opened the game, with five Barça players in the starting line-up – Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Piqué and Jordi Alba, but Netherlands came out swinging in the second half thanks to Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, who both scored twice, including a spectacular diving header from the Manchester United striker.

Spain squandered possession from a throw-in and when Blind found Robben, who brought the ball down with a velcro-like first-touch, he turned Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique before scoring.

Van Persie could have made it 3-1 with 20 minutes left after a surging run from Robben, but his dipping half-volley crashed against the bar.But Holland duly scored their third of the night when De Vrij capitalised on an error from Casillas in the 64th minute to bundle the ball into the net.

Van Persie duly made it 4-1 when Casillas, who had a dreadful game, miscontrolled the ball, allowing the Manchester United striker score his second goal, prodding it into an empty net. Robben made it 5-1 with 10 minutes to go, his quick feet once again creating enough space for him to thud the ball into the net and in so doing shatter Spain’s perceived status as invincible, says Mirror.

“We have to be a team, that’s what made us world champions and two-time European champions and that’s what we need to remain,” striker Fernando Torres said. “You can’t point fingers, we have to learn from our errors.”

Switzerland upset the eventual winners in the opening game four years ago but the manner of this humbling could be harder to bounce back from. Nevertheless, Friday’s result can’t change the fact that the Netherlands lost the 2010 World Cup final to Spain.

“I feel sick, ill at ease, but with the courage a defeat must not sink us,” said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque admitting to feeling physically sick by the nature of the defeat.

“It is not a happy moment, but first of all I want to congratulate the Dutch team, who were superior to us. We have been overwhelmed in the second half. We are a team of good professionals and good lads, everyone hurts, so there was no accusatory glances and that’s good for the team. There will be time to talk.”

The victory was particularly sweet for Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, who was criticized for his decision to play five defenders. He insisted the formation had attacking potential as well as nullifying Spain’s fluent passing game.

“I did not expect that it would go this way, it could have been 6-1 or even more, and we had a very happy feeling,” he said.

“This is a nice start, but we have nothing. If we do not win our next game against Australia we have made no progress, but now we are obviously in a good position.”

In the day’s other matches, Chile beat Australia 3-1, leaving Spain at the bottom of Group B. In Group A, Mexico edged Cameroon 1-0 on a 61st-minute goal by Oribe Peralta to take second spot behind Brazil.

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