[dropcap]S[/dropcap]pain suffered a rare humbling in any international match, let alone the World Cup finals, after being beaten 5-1 by an explosive Dutch team. This was seen as a small revenge by the Netherlands team, who were perceived to be on the wrong end of some bad refereeing decisions in the 2010 World Cup final.
It was a game of two halves quite literally. Spain were in control for most of the first half and they created chances at will. Playing in the hole behind Diego Costa, David Silva found it easy to go clear in front of goal on a couple of occasions. However, his decision-making and poor finishing helped Netherlands stay level. However, a soft penalty against Diego Costa helped Spain take the lead through Xabi Alonso. For much of the 45 minutes, it looked like the world champions were heading to a comfortable victory in their opening match.
Netherlands, though, had other ideas. They had been probing the defensive line throughout the first half, but Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique stayed strong. The defensive partnership, though, collapsed in the second half after van Persie and Arjen Robben found themselves staying onside for most of the long balls. This ultimately proved to be the decisive aspect of a game, as Spain were ripped apart. It would not have been surprising had the Dutch scored eight or more goals. Such was the manner of Spain’s poor defensive performance in the final 20 minutes.
Van Persie and Robben scored a brace while de Vrij also got on the scoresheet. Wesley Sneijder and Lens also had great opportunities to score.