[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.
While only the true football fans have been watching the Europeans U-21 European Championships that are currently taking place in Israel I have to confess that at first I was just watching the highlights until I saw the level of play by Spain when they took on Russia.
The young Spanish players were not just better, but miles better than their Russian counterparts. This led me to the conclusion that the coaching at a junior level must be much better in Spain, than the rest of Europe with the exception of Holland who are also very good.
Spain play a style of football called Tiki Taki which is keeping the ball on the ground with short quick passes to move the ball up field, rather than relying on long ball tactics that you see from most of the younger sides.
If you take Barcelona as an example and have a look at the academy the Masia you will notice that the young boys training there play the exact same game as the Barcelona first team, which is a philosophy Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is trying to encourage on Merseyside, and why all of the clubs latest signings coming from Spain you can see why in the videos below.
The only team that I see having a chance against Spain is Holland, and while I expect the Spanish to youngsters to beat the Netherlands when the two teams meet for their final group B match on Wednesday evening they could possibly play each other again due to the way it is set up in the final.
After you watch the videos below you might just want to tune in for these two matches as they are bound to be good games.