Sometimes words just can’t do justice to describe a game of soccer. The first half of Netherlands against Spain was entertaining enough but the action in the second were simply breathtaking.
Whenever Holland attacked in the second period, they looked like they were going to score whilst the Spaniards were made to look like an amateur side rather than World Champions.
When the World Cup holders lose their opening game, it’s big news. When they’re thumped 5-1, it sends shockwaves throughout the soccer world. Spain was lucky to ‘only’ concede five goals as the Dutch had a number of chances to make the scoreline even more humiliating.
This result has well and truly lain to rest the ghosts of the 2010 World Cup Final for the Dutch. For Spain the prospect of facing Brazil in the knock out phase of the tournament has become an all too realistic possibility.
Here are 6 observations from the Netherlands-Spain match:
1. Does fate hold a crumb of comfort for Del Bosque?
When the Spanish began the 2010 World Cup, they lost 1-0 to Switzerland in what could truly be described as a smash and grab raid by the Swiss. It was a freak result and the Spaniards dusted themselves off and went on to win the tournament.
Losing 5-1 is humiliating for the Spanish but they have to treat this as another freak result and get back to winning ways as soon as possible. Whereas against the Swiss in 2010, Spain could count themselves unlucky. This time, they were comprehensively ripped apart by a rampant Dutch side. Vicente Del Bosque will have to pick up his side after they suffered a huge psychological blow but if there is one small thing he can cling on to it is that Spain have won the World Cup before despite losing their opening group game.
2. A tale of two goalkeepers:
The focus will be on Iker Casillas for being caught in no-mans land when Robin Van Persie headed home a superb equalizer and then gifting the Dutch captain a second when he could not control a simple back pass. Casillas could also argue that he was the victim of a foul when Holland scored their third courtesy of Stefan De Vrij.
However it was his Dutch counterpart, Jasper Cillessen, who made the match’s key goalkeeping intervention. With Holland trailing one-nil, Cillessen made a huge save denying David Silva. Had the Manchester City star scored, then the complexion of the game would have been completely different. Cillessen’s heroics turned the game in favor of the Dutch and in hindsight he made a match winning save.
3. Dutch Master Class:
It took a while for Louis Van Gaal’s side to get going but once they did, there was nothing Spain could do to stop them. The Dutch seemed to have all the keys to unlock the World Champion’s defense.
When Spain played a high line they were susceptible to balls over the top and deep crosses as demonstrated by Robin Van Persie’s sumptuous header from a fantastic delivery by Daley Blind. When the World Champions dropped deep, they simply invited Arjen Robben to run at their defense and cause all sorts of problem.