Sao Paulo – We are all familiar with the saying ‘revenge is best served as a cold dish,’ we however did not expect Netherlands to execute so well, with a spectacular 5-1 demolition of defending world champions Spain.
Revenge of the 2014 World Cup Final
Lead by veteran’s Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben, the pair scored a brace each as they celebrated one of Holland’s most famous victories in the tournaments history. In a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final, majority of fans expected a cagey affair. What followed was described as ‘”inexplicable” by Holland’s captain, Van Persie.
The Dutch nation had in recent years lowered their expectations, for they have played dazzling football before and yet produced no meaningful results. A few of the Dutch players had openly come out and said they would be content with a draw. However, yet again the beautiful game lived up to its reputation of unpredictability.
Spain was expected to dominate possession and try dictate the tempo as they did in 1020 World Cup, the Dutch were better prepared for this style of football and had a counter game plan.
“Spain were always going to come at us and we catch them on the counter. My players did it perfectly. It’s far better than we ever expected,” Dutch coach Louis van Gaal told reporters.
Brazilian born Diego Costa started as the target man for Spain, in his first World Cup. The new Chelsea man was for most parts largely ineffective and looked lost on the field with stray passes and movement. Costa was awarded a controversial penalty and the resulting spot kick put Spain ahead. An outrageous ‘flying-salmon-type’ header from Dutch Captain, Van Persie off the back of a brilliantly weighted ball from Manchester United target Daley Blind, pulled Holland level moments before halftime.
Van Gaal must have given a rousing speech as it took just seven minutes into the second half for Holland to pull ahead after some great individual play form Arjen Robben, off another superb ball from Blind. Holland controlled the game more in the second half with high-intensity closing down and breaking on the counter with deadly intent.
A De Vrij goal on the far stick off a Holland corner saw the lead grow to three. The out of sorts Diego Costa was substituted for Torres and Pedro brought on for Alonso, in an attempt to salvage a point in the group opener. An error from Iker Casillas gifted Van Persie his second before a piece of individual brilliance by Robben left the Spanish stunned and the Dutch in a state of hysteria.
The spectacle of a performance by Holland was only the second time Spain had conceded five goals in a single World Cup match. Ironically, last time they conceded as many was in a 6-1 loss in 1950 to current and then hosts Brazil. At the 2010 World Cup Spain suffered a shock loss to Switzerland before going on to win the tournament, we however doubt this loss served as the same omen.