Published On: Sat, Jun 14th, 2014

Pain for Spain 1- 5 Netherlands – Breaking Tackle, Pads on, laces Out!

World Cup 2014  Match Report

By: Okari Stephen Wambunya

It was the rerun of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final. Spain’s tiki-taka system: Short passing and movement working the ball through various channels. Versus the defensive Dutch: Well-organized physical approach to unsettle and pressure the opposition. Prior to kick-off, Spain Coach Vicente del Bosque said, “We are not tiki-taka Taliban’s” and “possession without depth has no point.” Well if there was telling the truth, tonight would prove to the world, whether or not Spain could vary their primary style of play. In stark contrast Xavi said, “We want to dominate games by keeping possession.” The Barcelona midfielder wanted Spain’s game, to be a concept derived from zonal play.

Tonight at the Arena Fonte Nova, Holland was led in attack by their captain Robin van Persie, who struggled for fitness with Manchester United last season. Whereas Spain were spear-headed by debutant Diego Costa, who was also in the headlines before the start of the game, because it seemed he wasn’t 100% match-fit.

Speaking of the Spaniard, it was him who was at the thick of things as Spain broke the deadlock in the 27th minute from 12 yards. It was awarded by referee Nicola Rizzoli. Although there was no doubt about the foul, you couldn’t penalize Stefan de Vrij for being stood on, as he slid past. Xabi Alonso slots the ball home from the penalty spot past Jasper Cillessen, and into the bottom corner. Wesley Sneijder had previously missed a one-on-one chance beforehand. Costa the current Atletico striker, who is on his way to Chelsea was jeered and booed by the Brazilian fans, constantly throughout the match. They dubbed him a traitor, as he chose La Roja over the Seleccao. An ineffectual performance from Costa, and he was substituted after the hour mark for Fernando Torres.

Spain dominated possession with their trademark tiki-taka from then on, as Holland happily obliged to invite the pressure. Ron Vlaar in particular, defended well and kept Costa in check. Andres Iniesta and David Silva combined intricately and were a joy to watch. In particular at 43 minutes when the La Masia graduate, played a brilliant through ball for the Man City man to latch onto, but his attempted chip was superbly parried behind by Cillessen. That was a crucial miss.

Then there was a moment of magic from van Persie. At 44 minutes close to the break, Daley Blind the left wing back spotted the run of the Manchester United man and played a long 30-yard pass to him, before the Flying Dutchman threw a diving header expertly over a helpless Iker Casillas. 1-1. Absolute perfection and a world class finish. He ran straight to the bench to celebrate with van Gaal. Half time all square and level.

At the start of the second half they were no changes in personnel, just changes in the weather as rain started to fall heavily. This seemed to bring life towards Oranje, a somewhat wake up call to increase their intensity. Boy did the elements work wonders in their favour. A demolition followed. In the 53rd minute, Spain lost the ball in Holland’s half and the Dutch counter attacked with utter brightness and conviction. The ball worked its way out to the left flank and once again the superb Blind played it into the box and found Arjen Robben who controlled the ball beautifully, before cutting on to his left foot and firing a shot past Casillas via a deflection from Sergio Ramos and the Dutch were ahead by two goals.

Spain was beginning to fall apart. On 64 minutes, Sneijder whipped in a devilish free-kick towards the back post, where an unmarked de Vrij headed in from close range, after van Persie had got a touch from his head to the ball. Casillas argued that he was blocked by van Persie in the buildup to the goal and was given a yellow card for his protests.

The fourth goal came in the 73rd minute, as van Persie was at full stretch to capitalize on another error by Casillas. Calmly and collectively he tapped the ball in. The Dutch bench went into frenzy and van Persie jumped and punched the sky in delight. He even blasted a fantastic effort with his weaker foot on the woodwork moments before.

Man of the Match was definitely Arjen Robben. He was eager to make amends for the loss of 2010 that was still playing through his mind like a broken record. Stepped up to the plate in the 80th minute, and left Gerard Pique in his wake with his pace that was a regular threat throughout the clash, and scored the fifth goal that finished Spain off for good. This capped of a magnificent showing. Then he gestured to the camera taunting all those associated with the Spain national team. Terrorized Spain’s back four throughout the encounter.

Spain’s back four and Casillas didn’t communicate well during the course of the match and had lapses in concentration. The keeper made a great save to deny Robben, but otherwise had a game to forget. Their midfield trio of Busquets, Xavi and Alonso was neat and effective on the ball but were eventually overrun in the middle. Costa was unimpressive.

Holland’s rearguard was steady and solid. Cillessen made a wonderful save that could have put the opposition in front. The Dutch midfield triumvirate was comfortable and recovered from going down and put in good tackles. Their attack ran Spain ragged.

Pain for Spain. They were humbled and humiliated. Holland ran riot recklessly. This was Dutch dominance.

This was an encouraging performance from the Dutch. They showed courage and no fear. They stunned just about every football fan in the world by destroying Spain, the world champions 5-1. A truly unbelievable result.

By: Okari Stephen Wambunya           – For more on the worldcup – Please follow me on twitter


























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Pain for Spain 1- 5 Netherlands – Breaking Tackle, Pads on, laces Out!
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