Netherlands crush Spain in World Cup rematch

Van Persie header
Robin van Persie watches his diving header hit the back of the net against Spain the 2014 World Cup (Football Fashion/Twitter). (Robin van Persie watches his diving header hit the back of the net against Spain the 2014 World Cup (Football Fashion/Twitter))

The Netherlands beat Spain 5-1 in the first Group B match during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. It was a stunning upset in a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final that saw Spain take a 1-0 victory to be crowned football's champions.

That the Netherlands kept the game close in the first half was no doubt a shock to many fans and analysts. The Dutch squad disappointed during their friendlies leading up to the tournament, entering Friday's game at 15th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings. Spain has maintained first place in the rankings.

Even a Luis, a turtle residing on the property surrounding the Dutch embassy in Brasilia, Brazil predicted a Spanish victory.

Spain got the scoring started when Xabi Alonso knocked home a penalty in the 27th minute. After 17 minutes of back and forth, Robin van Persie connected a brilliant diving header off a long ball from Daley Blind that sailed over Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas' head and under the crossbar just before halftime.

About eight minutes after the restart, another Blind long ball landed in the area, this time with Arjen Robben at the end of it. Keeping possession just long enough to get past the Spanish defence, Robben struck the ball into the net. Ten minutes later, in the 63rd minute, Robben took a free kick that went into the area, past Van Persie, who collided with Casillas, and off De Vrij's head into the goal.

Spain's Silva kicked a rebound over the line in the 68th minute in a stunning breakdown of defending, but the ball was whistled offsides. Van Persie netted his second goal of the match in the 72nd minute with a sliding touch on a ball misplayed by Spain's keeper.

The Dutch still were not finished. Arjen Robben took possession of a long ball in the 80th minute, and beat two defenders and the Spanish goalkeeper for his second goal. Robben nearly made it 6-1 in the 87th minute off a poor clearance of a Wijnaldum shot, but Casillas stepped up to the challenge.

Oranje's next match will be against Australia on June 18 in Porto Alegre. Spain will play on the same date against Chile in Rio de Janeiro. All four teams are battling for the top two spots in Group B.