World Cup 2014

Robben, Van Persie star as Netherlands roll past Spain

ArjenRobbenNetherlands2-Spain2014WorldCup (Getty)


Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie, and the Netherlands won’t be stopped, not even by the defending world champions.

The Netherlands shocked the world on Friday by thrashing Spain, 5-1, at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. Robben and Van Persie each scored twice while left wing back Daley Blind assisted on Holland’s first two goals to come back from a one-goal deficit.

The four-goal deficit meant that this was the worst defeat in World Cup history to a defending champion.

Spain began the match with their trademark possession game, controlling the tempo and pushing the Netherlands and their three-man back line deep into their own half. La Furia Roja even took a 27th minute lead when Diego Costa went down in the box, with teammate Xabi Alonso finishing cooly past Netherlands goalkeeper Jesper Cillessen.

The Netherlands however, were never out of the game.

In the 43rd minute, just seconds after Cillessen denied David Silva from giving Spain a two-goal advantage, the Netherlands earned their reward for a hard-fought half.

Blind sent a long-ball from the left side towards the top of the box. Van Persie, as he’s done many times, followed the flight of the pass perfectly and met it with a diving header from 15-yards out, looping the ball into Iker Casillas’ goal to tie the match in dramatic fashion.

Following the half time break, the Netherlands took the match by the scruff of the neck and never let go. The Dutch preferred to use long-balls to bypass the Spanish midfield and in the 53rd minute, Blind was able to connect with Robben on another terrific goal.

Blind floated a ball for Robben to run onto, with the Dutch forward beating Sergio Ramos to the pass. Robben then dribbled around Ramos and another Spanish defender before blasting home to give the Netherlands a 2-1 lead.

From there, Holland began to pour it on. In the 63rd minute, Casillas wasn’t able to get a hand on a corner kick and it was eventually bundled home by Stefan de Vrij, making up for his earlier error in allowing the penalty kick to Spain. Nine minutes later, Casillas had another howler, failing to control a pass back to him and giving Van Persie a chance to toe-poke home.

With the Dutch fans and Brazilians in attendance singing out the “ole” chant when the Netherlands were in possession, Robben latched onto a pass on the counter attack, sped past Ramos at midfield and sprinted into the box, evading Casillas and Ramos again before firing home to put the finishing touches on the rout.

  • Luke

    How does Spain comeback from a 5-1 beat down?!?! If it comes to goal differential they will not advance.


    • Ah

      They’ve likely got to beat Chile and the Aussies. Not impossible but they’ve got to pick themselves off the mat pretty quick from this beat down.


      • chg

        And hope that the Dutch defeat Chile. Otherwise all three are likely to be 2-1 and looking at goal differential.


  • Ah

    David Silva failed to put Spain up 2-0 just before RVP’s beautiful equalizer. Spain’s got to be wondering how it might have played out differently if he’d taken that chance.

    Iker Casillas looks done. He was awful in the champions league final and comically bad tonight. Great career but it’s time to move on.


  • MikeG

    How does that play compact, pass, and move approach to the game benefit a team?


    • Move

      If you’re talking about Spain, I think the “move” part of that equation didn’t show up today, at least in the 2nd half.


    • Hincha Tim

      1 world cup and 2 european championships, 3 champions leagues. How does that stack up against your choice of tactics?


    • Lorenzo

      Once they got behind it reminded me of Sweden vs Portugal in the playoffs. Their back 3rd was open wide and Ronaldo (or in today’s case VP and Robben) ran rampant.

      Netherlands swarmed Spain like USA had done too. Immediate tight pressure with multiple people within the 30 yard area of the Spanish player and the ball. Reminds me of what we used to do to Mexico before we could compete with them skill wise.


  • KingGoogleyEye

    First half, I thought Spain would come away 3-1 winners. They were creating far more chances and just not finishing—but that usually gets fixed and the goals come.

    The second half was a different match. Holy crap.

    And I’d like to give a HUGE APPLAUSE for the refereeing in this match. Nobody is perfect, so I’m sure someone could find some errors, but finally we get a match that wasn’t decided by the officials.


    • The Other Jeff

      Second that about the ref crew.

      What a display by Netherlands. Spain wasn’t bad, maybe showed better than Brazil yesterday. Yikes.


    • Ryan

      I really wonder what was said in the Dutch dressing room at half-time. They came out and played like champions in the second half.

      I also agree with the refereeing. Hopefully it’s just a few flaky matches at the beginning and it’ll even out in the next day or two. Otherwise, the entire tournament’s going to be ridiculous and full of controversy.


      • KingGoogleyEye

        Without the benefit of several slow motion replays, no one would have called that PK differently. If that’s your standard of “joke” refereeing, then you will never be satisfied unless replay is introduced into the game. That’s a fair argument to make, but it’s not remotely fair to pin that on referee Nicola Rizzoli.

        As for the “head butt,” I think you’re referring to this tiny little tap from Diego Costa: http://thebiglead.com/2014/06/13/diego-costa-headbutt-vs-spain-did-not-earn-him-a-sending-off/

        Was that a foul? Yep. Did Martins embellish it like he had been shot? Absolutely. I’ve seen mothers kissing their babies foreheads with more force.

        Again, I don’t see how you can grumble about Rizzoli for that one.


  • KingGoogleyEye

    PS. I’d like to amend the FIFA Laws of the Game:

    “It is not a foul if it is against Sergio Busquets. He is either faking or deserves to be fouled for all the times he was faking.”


  • Cabrito

    Fitness is already a big talking point in this WC. Cameroon and Spain both looked less than “90 minutes” fit today. The fitness level of the US may be the difference in their games.


  • Ian

    How ’bout those Ozzies? Holding their own. They’ve been unlucky not to get a second goal too.


  • sabir

    Can’t remember the last one sided trouncing i enjoyed as much as this one

    You’d have to think del bosque will shake that starting eleven up big time. They’ve left themselves with no margin for error or room for complacenc. It’s 6 points or go home.


  • Wesley klinsmann



  • gonzo

    Robben’s last goal was like he was playing in the schoolyard. fake out, juke, fake and then a calm little stroll and pooot. into the goal. :)


  • Siberian

    I watched this game as a neutral but it was pretty hilarious to see Spain get beat so bad. Spain has way too many non-Spanish bandwagon fans. I thought about all of them today. Really entertaining World Cup so far.


    • Hush

      I hope you’re not referring to the Latin fans in America?haha Because the majority of Latin Americans in the U.S have strong ties to Espana in every element .. It’s our motherland. Just saying.lol … Nevertheless, we will break out of the group. Cause we’re La Furia baby! No one is in panic mode


  • Hush

    Espana will come out of the group, guaranteed. Holland is one of the best teams in the world, but unfortunately they will fail to win the cup. A Latin nation will take it like always ;) FURIA ROJA asta le MUERTE!


  • Jose

    Not every latino have tie with Spain, lots of latinos are Inka decendants, Aztecas, Mayas or black, and latin america are with Chile, is like you tell a american indian or black people that their motherland is England, So i am happy that Holland and Chile won,, so bye bye Spain


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