The Netherlands spanks defending champion Spain
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 14, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 2:18 a.m. HST, Jun 14, 2014
SALVADOR, Brazil » The Netherlands thrashed the world champions 5-1 Friday in the World Cup’s first shocker, toying with an aging Spanish team that has dominated global football for the past six years and avenging a loss in the 2010 final.
Although Spain could still advance out of the group stage, the game may have signaled the end of the run by a generation of Spanish stars whose quick passing, “tiki-taka” style delighted the world and helped them win the past three major tournaments.
Dutch strikers Robert Van Persie and Arjen Robben both scored twice, including Van Persie’s diving header off of an audacious 40-yard pass. The ball looped over hapless Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas as Van Persie slid on his stomach on the wet grass before running to the sidelines with his fists clenched to celebrate what is sure to be one of the goals of the tournament.
Defender Stefan de Vrij also scored — his first international goal — in a dominating second half that had the orange-clad Dutch fans in Arena Fonte Nova on their feet the whole time.
“Unbelievable,” Van Persie said. “For the whole Netherlands, this is a dream come true.”
“This is a very delicate moment for us, and all of us have to find a way to solve it,” said stone-faced Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque.