Friday, 13th June
Netherlands in Salvador.
With seven European teams set to play in Salvador de Bahia, none
can equal the scale of this game; a replay of the gritty, South Africa 2010 World Cup Final.
Prior to that, Spain and Netherlands had never met at a World Cup or
European Championship Finals; although they did play a couple of European qualifiers
(1984) and a number of international friendlies in both countries.
This was billed as the tie of the First Round and a chance for the
Dutch to make amends for 2010.
Wesley Sneijder had a chance to give Holland an early lead, but a penalty for Spain,
coolly taken by Xabi Alonso, put the World Cup holders in the driving seat with less than
half an hour played. This was the second soft penalty awarded in the 2014 World Cup Finals
as Diego Costa cunningly put out a trailing leg far too conveniently for Stefan de Vrij to
Robin van Persie's dipping header just before half-time will have to be a contender for
goal of the tournament, even though it was only scored in a group game.
After almost sprinting through the heavy-footed Spanish defence, van
Persie kept his eye on the flight of the ball and timed everthing pefectly to launch
himself into the air and nod the ball up and over; leaving Casillas rooted to the turf and
looking around (with his hands down by his hips) in disbelief.
But worse was yet to come.
Half-time: Spain 1 - Holland 1
Arjen Robben made up for his 62nd minute miss in Johannesburg, by turning Sergio Ramos
and Gerard Pique in the middle of the Spanish penalty area before putting a second goal
Wesley Sneijder's free kick was flapped at by the normally reliable Iker Casillas, onto
the head of Stefan de Vrij coming in at the back post. Casillas was subsequently booked
for protesting that he was impeded.
Robin van Persie then tied Neymar as leading goalscorer after jumping on to an
unbelievable lack of concentration by Casillas; robbing the Spanish goalkeeper of the ball
and calmly slotting Holland into a comfortable lead.
We're not smoking what some people are in Amsterdam but Holland really did destroy the
World Champions with attacking flair, four years after disappointing the world with a
display of Holland van Thuggery. Arjen Robben waited and waited, then gave Casillas his
fifth ball to pick out of the net.
Casillas may have been having a nightmare, but a double save prevented
the scoreline degrading into farce.
If it's any relief for the pain in Spain, it may be worth remembering
that they lost their opening game against Switzerland in South Africa; but nowhere as bad
Final Score: Spain 1 - Holland 5
1:0 - Xabi Alonso (27 mins, penalty)
1:1 - Robin van Persie (44 mins)
1:2 - Arjen Robben (53 mins)
1:3 - Stefan de Vrij (64 mins)
1:4 - Robin van Persie (71 mins)
1:5 - Arjen Robben (80 mins)
1-Iker Casillas; 22-Cesar Azpilicueta, 15-Sergio Ramos, 3-Gerard Pique, 18-Jordi Alba;
14-Xabi Alonso, 8-Xavi, 16-Sergio Busquets, 21-David Silva; 19-Diego Costa, 6-Andres
1-Jasper Cillessen; 7-Daryl Janmaat, 2-Ron Vlaar, 3-Stefan de Vrij, 4-Bruno Martins Indi,
5-Daley Blind; 8-Jonathan de Guzman, 10-Wesley Sneijder, 6-Nigel de Jong; 9-Robin van
Persie, 11-Arjen Robben.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli - Italy
4 yellow cards:
25 mins - Jonathan de Guzman (Netherlands)
41 mins - Stefan de Vrij (Netherlands)
64 mins - Iker Casillas (Spain)
66 mins - Robin van Persie (Netherlands)
Chile vs Australia
2014 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
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