The next big game of the 2014 World Cup was the match between two European giants; Spain and Netherlands. A replay of the 2010 final match, no one imagined the Dutch masterclass that was to come.
The game started with the Spanish team spreading the ball around, trying to impose their passing game. In a rare break on the 7th minute, a great ball from Robben found Sneijder, who pushed in on goal but was denied by the Spanish Captain; Iker casillas. The cagey game continued with Nigel De Jong making his presence felt. The scrappy game offered up few chances with Diego Costa’s fluffed chance worthy of mention. On the 27th minute, the Brazilian born striker, who had been booed at every touch of the ball, had a sight of goal and went down under the challenge of the Dutch defender; De Vrij. Another controversial penalty was awarded and the cool headed Xabi Alonso stepped up and slotted home from the spot.
The Dutch became more enterprising as they sought to get back into the game but the Spanish were weaving their magic with the quintet of Busquets, Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta and Silva dominating the midfield. On the 42nd minute, the Spanish team had a glorious chance when Iniesta’s through ball found Silva, whose chip was tipped over by the alert Dutch keeper. The Spanish were made to rue that miss when in the next minute, Blind’s long searching cross found Robin Van Persie, who scored a pitch of a goal with an acrobatic header that had Casillas befuddled. The first half ended Spain 1: Netherlands 1.
The second half started with the Dutch falling deep to defend as the heavens opened up. Gradually, the Dutch started to get into the game, with Robben and De Guzman getting in the act as they went wide bypassing the crowded midfield. Then another long cross from Blind and Robben controlled and scored brilliantly on the 58th minute. The dazed Spaniards struggled to settle into their rhythm but the ruthless Van Persie almost made it 3, hitting the crossbar as they countered.
The Dutch withdrew De Guzman who had been cautioned while the Spanish brought on Torres for the ineffective Costa and Pedro for Alonso. The 3rd goal for the Dutch duly came from Sneijder’s free kick on the 54th minute, with the defender De Vrij hitting home from the far post.
In a rare coordinated move, Silva put the ball in the net from a rebound on Azpilicuet’s header but was rightly adjudged off side. Another shot from the menacing Van Persie, who had dropped deep into a playmaking role, was saved by the glum looking Casillas. The Spanish are not used to loosing and looked just clueless.
Then it became 4:1; Van Persie robbed the fumbling Casillas and poked in clinically on the 72nd minute. What a humiliation for the world champions. The Dutch began to control possession and toy with the world champions. Then another counter on the 80th minute saw Robben released by Sneijder and he outpaced Ramos, dribbled the floundering Casillas and scored their fifth goal of the match. The Dutch were not done yet with the substitute Wijnaldum and the inspired Robben peppering Casillas with venomous shots, which he did well to save.
Torres’ fluffed chance in the 90th minute summed up the night for the Spaniards. The game ended Spain1: Netherlands 5. An incredibly tactical performance from Van Gaal’s brilliant Dutch side, it turned out to be. The big question is, can the humiliated Spanish team recover from this psychological blow?